Mixing Heroin and Alcohol

crushed heroin pills, syringe, cigarettes and alcohol

Heroin belongs to a class of drugs known as opioids, which are highly addictive and often abused. Heroin is often used to produce a “high,” or feeling of relaxation or sedation. Alcohol is a commonly used substance that can interact negatively with heroin when they are consumed together. Sometimes heroin is combined with alcohol to enhance high that it produces.

Heroin and alcohol both act to slow the body and brain down, and mixing the substances can be extremely dangerous. It can be hard to know the exact dose of heroin in a given batch, and alcohol can make the side effects of heroin more severe or even deadly. While there is no safe level of drug use, combining heroin and alcohol increases the risk of serious consequences.

How Heroin and Alcohol Are Consumed Together

There are several ways that people who are abusing substances may take heroin and alcohol together. Heroin is often injected into a vein, but can also be smoked or snorted. People who mix heroin and alcohol may drink before, during or after taking heroin.

Alcohol can be used to enhance the high felt after taking heroin, or it can be abused as a way to cope with other substance use disorders or mental health conditions. People who mix drugs may not realize the serious risks of doing so.

Side Effects of Mixing Heroin and Alcohol

Heroin and other opioids act on the central nervous system to produce pain relief and feelings of relaxation. However, taking heroin comes with risks and side effects. These can include:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred or slow speech
  • Slow breathing
  • Vomiting

These side effects can be amplified when heroin and alcohol are taken together. For example, a person may seem immediately drowsy or non-responsive. The amount of heroin and alcohol that can cause this reaction is different for every person based on factors like their size, general health and tolerance for these substances. There is no safe level or dose for combining heroin and alcohol.

Risks of Mixing Heroin and Alcohol

There are many risks to mixing heroin and alcohol; part of the risk is not knowing the dose or strength of heroin in every batch. When heroin is mixed with alcohol, it can make these side effects more severe and dangerous. When mixing the two substances, heart rate and breathing rate can drop significantly, which can prevent the body from getting the oxygen it needs. Mixing these substances can also result in loss of consciousness or death.

The consequences of mixing heroin and alcohol were highlighted in the media following the death of Cory Monteith, a TV actor who starred on the show Glee. Cory’s passing highlights the devastating effects of addiction and the great cost of mixing heroin with other drugs and alcohol.

Getting Help for Heroin and Alcohol Addiction

Addiction to heroin and alcohol are serious and can be life-threatening. Asking for help can be intimidating, but seeking heroin addiction treatment can help you to regain your health and reduce the risk of long-term, serious consequences.

Getting help for addiction includes breaking the body’s physical dependence on heroin and alcohol, as well as attending therapy to learn new skills and strategies to maintain sobriety. There are many types of treatment available to you, including medical detox and inpatient or outpatient care.

If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin and/or alcohol addiction, The Recovery Village Ridgefield is here to help. Contact us today to discuss the treatment options that are available to you.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation. “Heroin.” June 28, 2019. Accessed August 15, 2019.

Government of South Australia. “The dangers of mixing drugs.” n.d. Accessed August 15, 2019.

Dietze, Paul. “When is a little knowledge dangerous? Circumstances of recent heroin overdose and links to knowledge of overdose risk factors.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2006. Accessed August 24, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.