Combining medications (prescribed or not prescribed) with alcohol can have unpredictable and unwanted consequences. We can help ourselves, our friends and our community by understanding the dangers and taking steps to prevent harm.
Depressants (Xanax, Valium) combined with alcohol have a synergistic effect, with potential for dangerous and even lethal consequences, with rapid onset of dizziness, stumbling, loss of sphincter control, memory loss and potential death.
Stimulants (e.g., Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta) combined with alcohol conceal alcohol’s effects, so people cannot gauge their level of intoxication, which can result in over-consumption, e.g. significant impairment of coordination and judgment, black out, pass out and potential death.
Prescription opiates (e.g., Vicodin, OxyContin, Tylenol 3 with codeine, Percocet) combined with alcohol can result in slowed or arrested breathing, lowered pulse and blood pressure, unconsciousness, coma, and potential death.
Note: It is illegal to misuse prescription medication, that is:
- Continuing to use medication when the prescription is no longer valid
- Using prescribed drugs contrary to the prescription
- Using prescription drugs not prescribed to you
- Giving or selling prescribed drugs to another person
Potential harm can happen in three ways:
- When people do not know that there are significant drug interactions and are caught by surprise when they inadvertently drink while using prescription medication
- When people knowingly combine alcohol with other drugs because they mistakenly believe it will be a “better” or “enriched” intoxication
- As a tool to facilitate a crime (sexual assault, robbery, etc.) by making a victim incapacitated
If you choose to drink:
- Make your own drink whenever possible, and don’t leave your drink unattended
- If you don’t see your drink being made, don’t drink it
- Avoid drinks that come from a common source (e.g. punch bowl, igloo container, jug)