Why You Should Never Mix Alcohol and Opioids

Why You Should Never Mix Alcohol and Opioids

Mixing alcohol and opioids (or other substances) can have dangerous consequences. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 2 million Americans abuse opioids.1 Statistics also show that nearly 26% of people ages 18 and older have reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.2

Abusing alcohol and opioids on their own comes with dangerous consequences, but people taking alcohol and opioids at once may not realize what can happen until it’s too late. We will look at these dangers and how treatment programs can help people overcome substance abuse disorders for alcohol and opioids.

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Opiates

Alcohol and opiates are both depressants for the central nervous system, so mixing the two can have dangerous consequences because they produce the same results. Since both are considered “downers,” they can lead to slowed breathing when taken together.

Some common prescription opioids people may take include Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet, while illegal opioids are substances like heroin. Mixing alcohol with any opioids can lead to the following problems:3

  • Slowed breathing
  • Lowered pulse and blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death

Oxycodone is commonly prescribed to treat chronic pain and can be highly addictive. According to a study by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, deaths involving people who have misused or abused opioids and consumed alcohol are on the rise. Due to these potentially deadly consequences, it’s advised never to drink alcohol when taking prescription opioids. The study showed that while respiratory depression is a potentially fatal complication of opioid use by itself, alcohol only makes those effects worse.1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that approximately 78 people die from opioid overdoses daily. Reports indicate that many of those deaths often involve alcohol.1 This is why it’s so important for people to realize the consequences and get help for an opioid and/or alcohol addiction as soon as possible.

Getting Treatment for Alcohol and Opioids Substance Abuse Disorders

At Clear Life Recovery, we help people get treatment for both opioid and alcohol addictions. Besides addressing the substance abuse problem at face value, we also look at the underlying causes to help each patient have the best chance of staying sober. Our treatment program aims to help people get down to what may have led to their addiction so that they can avoid those triggers or situations in the future. Without looking at the root causes, there can be a greater risk of relapse.

When it comes to our treatment programs for alcohol and opioids, we customize each program so that every client gets the help to give them the greatest chance of recovery. Our substance abuse programs involving opioids can include:

  • Detox services
  • Holistic therapy that combines spiritual, physical, and mental treatment
  • Individual and group therapy sessions
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Residential treatment services
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Intensive outpatient program

Our treatment programs for alcohol substance abuse are tailored to the individual since not everyone’s addiction is the same. This is why their treatment programs need to be different as well.

At Clear Life Recovery, although the specifics of every treatment plan are going to be different, comprehensive care for an alcohol abuse disorder will include detox with medication, mental and physical therapy, and aftercare.

If you would like to get help for a substance abuse disorder involving alcohol and opioids, contact the staff at Clear Life Recovery. We are here 24/7 to help you start your path to sobriety.


[1] https://www.asahq.org/about-asa/newsroom/news-releases/2017/02/mixing-opioids-and-alcohol-may-increase-likelihood-of-dangerous-respiratory-complication
[2] https://drugabusestatistics.org/alcohol-abuse-statistics/
[3] https://uhs.umich.edu/combine