Alcohol abuse affects the lives of 150 million people in the United States and opiate abuse affects the lives of more than 12 million. Many of the individuals affected by alcohol and opiates take them at the same time. Taking opiates and alcohol is not a good combination. There are a multitude of side effects and while the feeling of mixing the drugs is an intense high, the permanent dangers and risks involved with mixing opiates and alcohol outweigh the temporary euphoria.

What are Opiates

Opiates is a class of drugs that are also known as pain killers. Morphine, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Percocet, Lorcet, Codeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Suboxone, Opium, and Heroin are all opiates. While those are just a few, with the exception of the last two (Opium and Heroin), all of them are prescription drugs. Methadone and Suboxone have been used as medical detox drugs to help individuals transition from drug addiction to either Methadone or Suboxone.

Deadly Combination

Most opiates contain acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, which is exceedingly damaging to the liver, especially if taken in large doses. Alcohol is also extremely damaging to the liver, especially so if consumption is done on a regular basis. So, when you combine the two, you get a cocktail for liver damage.

What Happens When You Combine Opiates and Alcohol

Opiates and alcohol depress the central nervous system but their effects are intensified when used together and opiate absorption is increased by the alcohol. Opiates also suppress respiration, as does alcohol, so when combined; there is a significant decrease in breathing and respiration which could be dangerous. Overdose is a possibility. Both alcohol and opiates can have an impact on judgment and many individuals who reported taking them together also reported engaging in behavior that they would normally not engage in.
Effects and Dangers of Mixing Opiates and Alcohol

Individuals who use opiates and alcohol can slow their body down to the point of a heart attack. Some other side effects that result in mixing opiates and alcohol include:
• Drowsiness and dizziness
• Dream like state of relaxation
• Numbness
• Impaired coordination
• Decreased heart rate
• Breathing problems
• Seizures
• Coma

A Growing Trend

Among college student, mixing opiates and alcohol is a growing trend and it is second to marijuana use. According to a study conducted by the Washington State University, pharm parties, in which individuals bring prescription drugs and empty the bottles into a large fish bowl to be mixed and randomly taken, have become popular with college students. There have also been an increasing number of overdose and deaths associated with pharm parties.

Medical Detox for Opiate and Alcohol Abuse

Most doctors agree that addiction to alcohol and opiates should be addressed through medical detox. IV therapy medical detox is seen as the safest and most effective method for medical detox. IV therapy medical detox is administered by a physician and intravenous therapy makes it possible for the physician to adjust the medication to meet the withdrawal symptoms of the patient. The patient is kept comfortable which allows them to complete the detox process. Studies show that individuals who complete detox are more likely to be successful in sobriety than individuals who cannot complete detox.

Author's Bio: 

Lara Schuster writes for Gallus Medical Detox Centers. Gallus Detox provides safe drug and alcohol detox with customized IV therapy to comfortably alleviate withdrawal symptoms and patients are monitored 24/7 by ICU level nurses. This proven detox method was developed by Dr. Patrick Gallus after 15-plus years as an emergency room physician caring for alcohol and drug addicted patients. Gallus Medical Detox Centers features upscale private rooms, gourmet meals, Wi-Fi and HDTV. Patient confidentiality is always protected.