Most prescription drugs have warnings on them that tell users not to drink alcohol while they are taking them. Alcohol interacts with drugs and can cause them to have exaggerated effects. One drug in particular, Vicodin, is intensified when mixed with alcohol to the extent that it becomes dangerous to someone’s health, and may even lead to death.
Let’s take a look at the drug and how alcohol can cause dangerous and even deadly consequences when they are mixed. Do you need drug and alcohol rehab Wilmington NC services? If so, call us today! Legacy Freedom of Wilmington is your best option for getting sober.
The Deadly Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Vicodin
Vicodin is a drug made up of hydrocodone, which is an opioid, and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is made from naturally occurring substances but it is refined and processed, so it is considered semisynthetic. It is a painkiller prescribed to people with moderate to severe pain because it acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. It can have side effects such as memory loss, confusion and suppression of the respiratory functions. It is often taken recreationally because it can cause a euphoric high. It has a short half-life, but when it is mixed with alcohol, the effects can last up to 96 hours.
Acetaminophen does not have an effect on the nervous system; its job is to block pain signals from reaching the brain. However, it can cause damage to the liver and stomach in large doses or if it is taken for extended periods of time. Because alcohol also damages the liver, the combination of the two is a double-whammy on the organ. A study on the effects of Vicodin and alcohol consumption on the liver showed that if someone took 2,000 mg of the opioid and drank three alcoholic drinks every day, it could cause a dangerous level of damage to the liver.
Alcohol is a depressant, just like Vicodin, so mixing the two can increase the effects of both. It will slow the body’s respiratory function, heartbeat and cause low blood pressure. It also, as mentioned earlier, puts a lot of pressure on the liver.
Alcohol addiction is dangerous and can put you at risk, especially if you mix it with prescription painkillers. Do you have a problem with alcohol? Do you want to get help? You do not have to struggle alone. Call Legacy of Wilmington to get on the road to recovery. We have admissions counselors ready to answer your questions about our drug and alcohol rehab Wilmington NC services. Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of combining drugs and alcohol so you do not put yourself in danger of health problems or even death.
People often do not realize when they mix the two that the “high” may fade after a few hours, but their cognitive abilities may still be impaired, even if they feel normal. There are often DUI cases involving people who take a Vicodin early in the evening, go out for a few drinks later, then head home when they feel like they have sobered up many hours later. They end up involved in accidents or get pulled over for driving erratically. They may think they have sobered up from the alcohol, so they are okay to drive. Many times, they don’t even consider that they had popped a pill earlier that evening. They are unaware that the combination of the two in their system has caused the effects of each to become intensified.
Mixing Vicodin and alcohol can cause a person to feel extreme relaxation that can lead to drowsiness and even numbness. Both substances cause a depressant effect on the brain and the body. When the nervous system is affected by the combination of the two, other side effects can occur, such as dizziness, lack of coordination, loss of awareness, stomach pain, shortness of breath and slowed heart rate.
Each person has his or her own tolerance for drugs and alcohol, so the effects can vary among people. However, doctors always advise against drinking alcohol with any prescription drug, and even some OTC drugs such as acetaminophen, which is an ingredient in Vicodin, because of the harmful effects on the liver.
Vicodin is usually prescribed to patients with moderate to severe pain. In 2007, it was noted that people in the U.S. accounted for 99 percent of hydrocodone users. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that over 2 million people in the U.S. are addicted to an opioid painkiller such as Vicodin. However, not all users of the drug are obtaining it through their doctors, which makes the practice of mixing it with alcohol even more dangerous.
Alcohol is an always popular, and easy to access, choice among adults. A study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol abuse reported that in 2014, over 87 percent of people over 18 drank. Alcohol consumption is often seen as not as dangerous as taking drugs because it is legal and accessible. But, when people drink too much, or they combine drinking and drugs, it can be just as deadly as using hard street drugs.
Many people may not realize they are combining the two because they may see the drug as any other drug, such as a medication for heartburn. They may not think twice about popping a pill in the afternoon and having a drink or two with dinner.
Not all cases are unintentional though. People who are looking for a high may take Vicodin and drink knowing that the high will be better. If they continue to engage in that type of dangerous behavior, it can lead to health problems and possibly death.
If you encounter someone who you believe has mixed Vicodin with alcohol, check for these signs, which may require medical treatment:
- Slurred speech
- Inability to focus
- Loss of coordination
- Rapid eye movements
- Unusual behavior and actions
Mixing drugs and alcohol is always a bad idea. People who are prescribed painkillers should take their doctors’ advice and not mix them with painkillers. Parents who suspect their children may be drinking and/or taking prescription drugs should be educated on the dangers of mixing the two. They are more likely to take risks like this, whether because of curiosity or because of peer pressure. They need to understand that this type of behavior can lead to serious health consequences, or even death.
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