The Effects of Combining Alcohol with Other Drugs

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.

How Do You Know What Happens? | Josh Levine PSA from Scott Wasserman on Vimeo. (see also Transcription below)

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:

  • Continue to use medication when the prescription is no longer valid
  • Use prescribed drugs contrary to the prescription
  • Use prescription drugs not prescribed to you
  • Give or sell prescribed drugs to another person

Misusing prescription drugs can result in conviction with jail time. 

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)

Stay safe, Go Blue, and Stay in the Blue.

For more information, see:

Video transcription:  

Narrator: What do you get when mixing red and blue paint? How about Coca-Cola and Mentos from science class? Then there’s alcohol mixed with prescription drugs. What happens when you mix them together? How do you know what happens? 

Josh's mom: I lost my son Josh Levine because he didn’t know what would happen when he mixed Adderall with alcohol. Don’t be the next one who doesn’t know what will happen. How do you know what will happen? How do you know?