Cocaine Interactions: Is it Dangerous to Mix Other Drugs with Cocaine?
Written By: Jose Londoño | Edited By: Editorial Team | Last Updated: March 10, 2021
Springboard Recovery provides effective treatment for substance use & mental health disorders.
Table of contents
- What is Cocaine?
- Is Crack the Same as Cocaine?
- What are the Side Effects of Cocaine?
- Does Using Cocaine Lead to a Drug Tolerance?
- Mixing Cocaine with Other Drugs
- Understanding Cross Addictions
- Addiction Treatment is Available for Cocaine Addiction and Other Drugs
- Learn More About Mixing Cocaine with Other Drugs and Addiction Treatment Options
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Even though using cocaine on its own is hazardous, combining it with other drugs is worse, and can even be fatal. People need to be educated so they understand the dangers that are involved with mixing cocaine with other drugs and the interactions that may result.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This is because of the fact that it has a high potential for abuse which can result in psychological and/or physical dependence. It is a stimulant drug that is commonly abused for its euphoric effects.
Cocaine is made from the coca plant, which is native to South America. It can be used for some medical purposes, including as a local anesthetic for surgical procedures. Using it recreationally is illegal in the United States.
This drug is most often used on the street. It presents as a fine, white powder. Dealers will typically cut it with other substances, such as flour or cornstarch as a way to increase their profits.
Is Crack the Same as Cocaine?
Crack is a form of cocaine, but it is very different. People who abuse cocaine will snort the powder in order to get high. But crack is heated with a pipe and smoked. It is the most potent form of the drug and can be found at purity levels of between 75% and 100%.
Dealers make crack by cooking the cocaine powder with baking soda. The resulting mixture is broken into small pieces that are called rocks. It is much cheaper than cocaine, which makes it much more popular.
When people smoke crack, the drug reaches the brain much more quickly. They experience a short, but intense high that lasts for about 15 minutes. Many experts believe that it is possible to get addicted to crack after just trying it one time.
What are the Side Effects of Cocaine?
The effects of cocaine typically appear right away after using the drug one time. They may go away within a few minutes to an hour after dosing. Some of the side effects of cocaine include:
- An intense feeling of euphoria.
- Feeling more energetic.
- Becoming very talkative.
- Becoming more mentally alert.
- Becoming hypersensitive to sound, light and touch.
- Decreased appetite.
- Less need for sleep.
- Increased heart rate.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Increased body temperature.
- Bizarre, violent behaviors.
- Feelings of panic and anxiety.
- Feelings of paranoia.
Does Using Cocaine Lead to a Drug Tolerance?
A lot of people who abuse cocaine long enough find that they eventually form a tolerance to it. This happens because they get used to the normal dose they take and in time, they no longer get the same type of high. As a result, they need to increase how much of the drug they take.
But using too much cocaine can be very dangerous – not to mention expensive – so rather than take too much, a lot of people will mix it with other drugs. Depending on the drug they choose, using them together can enhance the high and even give it a different feeling.
Addiction is always progressive unless something is done to interrupt that process, such as getting treatment. Fortunately, when people with drug addictions stay engaged with treatment for one year, they have a 50%-60% chance of being successful long-term.
Mixing Cocaine with Other Drugs
Even though mixing cocaine with other drugs is extremely dangerous, this is still something people do all the time. But more people need to be aware of the risks involved with combining this substance with others for the purpose of getting high.
The following offers information on mixing cocaine with various drugs.
- A decrease in reflexes and reaction time.
- Loss of coordination and balance.
- Blurry vision.
- Periodic blackouts when drinking.
- Memory loss.
- Symptoms of depression.
- Nausea and/or vomiting.
- Impaired judgment.
- Slower or slurred speech.
According to one study by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 23% of people who received treatment for cocaine addiction in 2017 also needed help for an alcohol use disorder. It is believed that people may be mixing these drugs as a way to counteract the negative effects of each one.
Both cocaine and alcohol are party drugs, so people may commonly take them together. This can result in more impulsive behaviors and lower inhibitions. Both drugs have a much higher toxicity when they are taken at the same time.
Research has shown that taking both drugs at the same time can disrupt the body’s metabolism of cocaine. This can lead to the production of cocaethylene in the body, which is 30% more toxic than cocaine itself. Also, alcohol slows down the elimination process and puts a lot of stress on the liver. As a result, cocaethylene can pass through the bloodstream, which can harm organs and tissues in the body.
Mixing cocaine with an opioid drug can be extremely dangerous. Still, this drug often combined with cocaine to produce what users call a speedball. Using them together is a practice known as speedballing.
Because cocaine is a stimulant and heroin is a depressant, this creates a kind of “push-pull” effect in the body and brain. The combination produces an intense high and users are often trying to negate each drug’s negative effects. But using them together can actually have fatal consequences.
The effects of speedballing include:
- Becoming generally confused and incoherent.
- Blurry vision.
- Feelings of drowsiness.
- Becoming paranoid and otherwise mentally impaired.
- Uncontrolled motor skills.
- High risk of death from a heart attack, stroke or aneurysm.
There is also a high risk of respiratory failure when taking cocaine and heroin together. The effects of cocaine tend to wear off much more quickly than the effects of heroin. Heroin is known to cause slower breathing rates, and people who combine these drugs often take too much.
Benzodiazepines are a classification of drugs that are often prescribed for people to help with their anxiety. They are depressants and may be referred to as sedatives and tranquilizers. Ativan, Valium and Xanax are examples of commonly prescribed benzos.
People will typically mix these two types of drugs for a few different reasons. Some will want to use benzos as a way to negate the negative effects of cocaine and enhance the high they experience. Others may take them as a way to calm down after using cocaine. Either way, they can be a dangerous combination.
Some of the risks of combining cocaine with benzodiazepine drugs include:
- Increasing the side effects of both drugs.
- Worsening mental health symptoms.
- An increased risk of addiction and/or dependence for one or both drugs.
- An increased risk of a potentially fatal overdose.
Mixing cocaine with benzos can make it hard for the body to process either drug. This is what puts people at risk for an overdose.
Methamphetamine is also a stimulant drug. When a person is no longer getting the desired high from cocaine, they may attempt to add meth into the mix. This is very taxing on the body and brain, and it can lead to serious physical and mental problems.
Serotonin syndrome is a condition in which increased serotonin levels in the body overtake its ability to regulate mood, muscle control and temperature. It can cause people to experience:
- A rapid heart rate
The symptoms of serotonin syndrome can be life-threatening. Mixing cocaine with meth can be even more dangerous for people who take prescribed medications that increase serotonin levels. They can include antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
Combining cocaine and meth can also cause serious heart problems and sleep disturbances as well as severe mood swings.
The legalization of marijuana for recreational use – not just medical use – has increased the number of people who abuse this drug. Both cocaine and marijuana are commonly abused in the United States, and a lot of people will use them at the same time.
People who use marijuana regularly often believe that it pairs well with any other substance; especially stimulant drugs like cocaine. But when a person uses them together, they may actually use more cocaine than they normally would. This occurs because of the way weed causes people not to feel the effects of the stimulant more strongly.
Some of the effects of mixing cocaine and marijuana include:
- Lowered inhibitions
- Changes in time perception
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Damage to the cardiovascular system
Abusing two drugs at the same time also increases the chances of getting addicted to one or both of them.
Understanding Cross Addictions
Cross addiction, which may also be called Addiction Interaction Disorder is a condition in which a person has more than one addictive behavior. This is much more common than most people think because of how often people abuse more than one drug at a time.
As we mentioned above, cross addictions can be very dangerous because of the risk of overdosing and other negative side effects. People who are addicted to more than one drug at a time need to get treatment for both addictions in order for it to be effective.
Addiction Treatment is Available for Cocaine Addiction and Other Drugs
People who are addicted to cocaine by itself or along with another drug need to get professional help. Drug and alcohol treatment can make such a difference for a person who is addicted because it addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the problem.
People are often nervous to even get more information about substance abuse treatment because they do not know what to expect. We want to help by providing some information.
Going through the detoxification process is essential for someone who is addicted to cocaine. If they are addicted to another drug, it may also be necessary to detox off that substance as well.
For cocaine addiction, drug detox can provide relief from withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox is highly recommended because it provides a high level of supervision and patients can take medications to help with their symptoms.
Other forms of detox may be needed if the person is addicted to another drug. For example, if they are also using heroin, medication assisted treatment may be recommended.
After detoxing – which may take between 7-10 days, depending on the person’s needs – going to drug rehab is vitally important. There, people can receive therapy that addresses the root cause of their addictions.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has stated that as many as 50% of people who go to rehab also have other mental health issues. In cases like these, this called having a co-occurring disorder, and these conditions should never be ignored.
Dual diagnosis treatment is a method of recovery that provides help for both the addiction and the mental health issue at the same time. This reduces the risk of relapsing and improves the person’s chance at long-term recovery.
Learn More About Mixing Cocaine with Other Drugs and Addiction Treatment Options
At SpringBoard Recovery, we offer one of the best outpatient rehab programs in Arizona. We have clients come to us from all over the country to participate in treatment. To facilitate that, and to help those who live locally, we also provide sober living services to those who need them.
Recovery from cocaine addiction is possible. It is also possible to recover if you are addicted to more than one drug. We can help. Please contact us today.