24/7 Help - Contact a Specialist: (877) 624-1853

Mixing Alcohol and Heroin

The use of alcohol and Heroin together has become increasingly common in the U.S. in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are addicted to alcohol are twice as likely to become addicted to Heroin at some point in their lifetimes. People who are addicted to one of the substances will often begin to combine it with the other in order to increase the sedative effects of each drug and achieve a stronger high.

Due to the ways that the two substances affect the brain, the intoxication that results from mixing them is much more intense than using just one of them on their own. Both alcohol and Heroin are central nervous system depressants, which can cause similar negative side effects. Combining the two substances raises the odds of a user having an adverse reaction, including a heightened risk of developing drug dependency, certain health complications, and a possibly fatal overdose. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Heroin overdoses are caused by combining the drug with sedatives like alcohol.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is an extremely addictive opioid drug made from Morphine; a natural substance taken from the seeds of various opium poppy plants. Classified as a Schedule I narcotic, heroin is illegal and considered to have no medical use in the U.S. Heroin can be a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance known on the street as black tar heroin. Heroin can be injected, snorted, or smoked by users. Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells in multiple areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. Heroin produces an intense, euphoric high and people who use the drug report feeling a “rush” the second it hits the bloodstream.

Heroin is so addictive because it targets the brain’s opioid receptors, which are involved in pain and reward pathways. These receptors are also found in the brain stem, which control essential functions such as breathing and blood pressure regulation. Heroin overdoses are often fatal because breathing is suppressed and respiratory depression occurs. Over time, regular Heroin use changes the functioning of the brain. Users build up tolerance and need to take more and more of the drug to achieve the same “high” that they once did. Because of this tolerance and the fact that Heroin is so rapid-acting, many users will combine it with alcohol to prolong the high and increase the euphoric side effects. Mixing heroin and alcohol can make a person feel more sociable, less inhibited, and experience heightened feelings of pleasure; however, it also causes significantly more dangerous side effects.

Side Effects of Heroin

Heroin binds to the opioid receptors in the brain that are primarily involved in regulating feelings of pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing. In addition to the immediate “rush” that users experience, other initial effects of Heroin include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Numbing of limbs
  • Flushed skin
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Itching
  • Severe confusion
  • Euphoria
  • Vomiting
  • Impaired mental functioning
  • Unconsciousness

Chronic, long-term Heroin users will experience a variety of effects as well that can be severely damaging to both their physical and mental health. These effects are amplified when the drug is taken with other substances such as alcohol. Some of the negative side effects include:

  • Collapsed veins
  • Insomnia
  • Infection of the heart lining and valves
  • Damaged tissue
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Depression
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Sexual dysfunction

Get help for alcoholism

Take your life back by getting started in a treatment program today.

Learn more about treatment

Alt text

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Heroin

Alcohol And Heroin Is An Especially Dangerous Combination That Is Likely To Lead To OverdoseCombining alcohol and Heroin is an extremely dangerous practice as the mixture intensifies the effects of both substances, which increases the risk of overdose and long-term health damage. When mixed together, alcohol and Heroin can cause extreme drowsiness, mood swings, uncontrollable vomiting, and a severe lack of inhibitions. Both substances depress the same neurotransmitter within the brain, which can slow down normal bodily functions to the point of failure. Heroin can also intensify the effects of alcohol and lead to a lower tolerance. Users experience a greater intoxication when alcohol is mixed with narcotics, which makes it easier to drink to excess and suffer from alcohol poisoning.

Due to the sedating effects of both central nervous system depressants, taking alcohol and Heroin together can result in a number of serious adverse reactions. Some of the potentially dangerous effects of mixing Heroin with alcohol include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weak pulse
  • Shallow breathing
  • Impaired coordination
  • Respiratory depression
  • Tremors
  • Slowed or irregular heart rate
  • Coma

Consuming alcohol with Heroin significantly increases the risk of overdose because of the respiratory depression that can occur. Respiratory depression causes irregular breathing in the user, which reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the brain and body. This deprivation of oxygen can then result in long-term damage to major organ systems and even death. The two substances cause increased shallow breathing, lowered blood pressure and heart rate, and deep sedation that can lead to a coma or brain damage. All sedating medications can cause overdose on their own, however, when the drugs are combined, this risk substantially increases.

Treatment for Alcohol and Heroin Addiction

It is never safe to combine alcohol and Heroin. The two substances are both addictive drugs that impact, mood, behavior, and cognitive function, which can produce a number of negative and potentially life-threatening side effects when abused. When they are combined, the risk of experiencing these dangerous effects is increased.

If you’re someone that is struggling with alcohol and Heroin abuse, contact a dedicated treatment specialist today and find the right rehabilitation center for your needs.

Make a decision that will change your life.

Find a Center

He took control. You can too.

See Jerry's Story

Questions about treatment?

Connect with a treatment specialist 24/7. All calls are free and confidential.

(877) 624-1853

Help your loved one by contacting a treatment specialist today.

Get Help

Get help for alcoholism today.

If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. We will find top-rated treatment programs that help you get and stay sober.

Speak with a treatment specialist 24/7.

(877) 624-1853 or

Get the help you need now.

We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery. Make or receive a judgement-free call today with one of our compassionate rehab specialists.

Let Us Call You

(855) 860-9633

or Give Us a Call

1-844-449-9683

Get the help you need now.

We’re here 24/7 to help guide you or your loved on through rehab and recovery. Submit your number to receive a judgement-free call today with one of our compassionate rehab specialists.

(855) 860-9633

Where do calls go?

Callers will be routed to:

Where do calls go?

We strive to be fully transparent in all of our relationships. To that end, we want you to be aware that Alcohol Rehab Guide is compensated by A Better Life Recovery for the work Alcohol Rehab Guide does in the development and operation of this site. A Better Life Recovery was carefully vetted and selected to be a trusted provider and partner with Alcohol Rehab Guide, based on the quality of treatment provided and their rigorous commitment to ethical practices.

All calls to general contact numbers and contact us forms on this site are routed to A Better Life Recovery. If A Better Life Recovery is unable to assist with a particular need they are committed to providing direction and assistance in finding appropriate care.