Heroin, which is made from the opium poppy, and therefore considered an opiate, is an illegal drug that is one of the most potent and dangerous narcotics. The effects of mixing heroin with alcohol are extremely dangerous and even deadly, as both substances depress the same neurotransmitter in the brain. Some heroin addicts abuse alcohol as well, and since they have developed a high tolerance to both substances, they are somehow able to consume them together without permanent ill effects. Other addicts fortunately obtain proper medical attention after consuming both substances together, and this may lead them to seek long-term rehabilitative treatment to addiction for heroin and alcohol.
The Dangers of Using Heroin and Alcohol Simultaneously
However, ingesting alcohol and using heroin simultaneously can result in a coma that leaves the patient with permanent brain damage that causes lasting cognitive, behavioral, and physical disability. Combining these two substances can even be fatal. The danger occurs because both substances slow down the functions of the central nervous system, which regulates heart rate and breathing. Once the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain is disrupted severely enough or for a long enough period of time, brain damage will result. At that point, the brain can no longer send necessary messages to control and regulate other major organs, so that if the process is not reversed in time by immediate medical intervention, the results will be catastrophic.
If you or your loved one has ever been treated for an emergency that results from using heroin and alcohol at the same time, it is important to seek treatment for addiction to heroin and alcohol as soon as possible. We are here to help, so please contact our 24-hour helpline at 1-800-861-9454 or fill out our contact form, and we will provide information about programs for people who are addicted to heroin and alcohol.
Despite the well-publicized dangers of consuming alcohol and using heroin at the same time, and indeed despite knowledge of the dangers of using any dosage of heroin whatsoever, patients do become addicted to both heroin and alcohol. Some heroin addicts might turn to alcohol when heroin is unavailable. Since heroin is not only illegal but also extremely expensive, an addict who has cravings for heroin may try to avoid the anguish of withdrawal symptoms by abusing alcohol. This can be just as dangerous as using heroin and alcohol at the same time, as traces of heroin can remain in the bloodstream and combine with alcohol to add to the depressing effect that alcohol itself has on the central nervous system. In addition, many recreational drug users self-administer drugs in social settings where alcohol is also available and considered part of the atmosphere of adventure and escape. These situations are very dangerous, and often do end with participants needing medical attention. However, once the medical crisis has passed, the addict may only remember an increased sense of euphoria that resulted from the effects of both drugs together. Since both heroin and alcohol users build up tolerance and are able to use more and more of both substances, a co-addiction may result. When use of the two substances together becomes more frequent, he severity of the effects of mixing heroin and alcohol become less severe, as the patient who becomes addicted to heroin and alcohol becomes more tolerant of their combined effects.
Heroin and Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Treatment for addiction to heroin and alcohol should be carried out by experienced professionals in a residential setting. The use of methadone or other substitute drugs must be carefully regulated and monitored when the patient also has alcohol in his or her bloodstream, and in some cases alternative methods of acute detoxification are necessary. Most importantly, a patient who is addicted to heroin and alcohol cannot be treated in an environment where he or she could possibly have access to either substance during the treatment process. Counseling and monitoring should continue after the acute phase of rehabilitation is completed, so that the patient can be spared any further experiences with the effects of mixing heroin and alcohol.
Please call us at 1-800-861-9454 or fill out our contact form if you or a loved one has experienced the dangers caused by the effects of mixing heroin and alcohol. We will help you find a program that provides effective and lasting treatment for addiction to heroin and alcohol.