Cocaethylene – The Danger of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol

Cocaethylene – The Danger of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol

You may not have heard of cocaethylene, but it is one of the most dangerous components of alcohol and cocaine…

You may not have heard of cocaethylene, but it is one of the most dangerous components of alcohol and cocaine addiction. When these two substances are used simultaneously, the body has unique reactions that create new and even more potent chemicals. This, in turn, can make the addiction even more dangerous.

But how is cocaethylene created? What are the alcohol and cocaine interactions that pose an increased risk to users? Is it possible to experience cocaethylene poisoning or overdose? Finally, where can you access high-quality inpatient treatment for alcohol and cocaine addiction?

In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at what cocaethylene really is and how it can affect your body:

What Is Cocaethylene?

Cocaethylene is a psychoactive substance formed in the liver when alcohol and cocaine are consumed simultaneously. This occurs through a process in which the enzymes in the liver metabolize both substances, resulting in the production of cocaethylene.

It’s important to note that cocaethylene is not a unique drug or substance that can be consumed on its own, but rather a formation in the body as the result of cocaine and alcohol consumption.

Cocaethylene is chemically related to cocaine and exhibits similar psychoactive properties. It is believed to enhance and prolong the euphoric effects of cocaine, contributing to the appeal of combining these two substances. However, the formation of cocaethylene also increases the potential for negative health consequences, as it is more toxic than cocaine alone.

Some of the risks associated with cocaethylene formation include:

  • Cardiovascular Issues – Cocaethylene has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death.
  • Hepatotoxicity – Cocaethylene can cause liver damage and has been associated with a higher risk of acute liver injury compared to cocaine or alcohol use independently.
  • Impaired Judgment – The combination of alcohol and cocaine can result in greater impulsivity and risk-taking behavior, which may increase the likelihood of accidents, injuries, or involvement in dangerous activities.
  • Increased Risk of Addiction – The enhanced euphoria and extended duration of effects from the combination of alcohol and cocaine may increase the risk of developing an addiction to either or both substances.
  • Increased Risk of Overdose – The simultaneous use of alcohol and cocaine can mask the individual effects of each substance, increasing the risk of overdose and other potentially life-threatening complications.

Symptoms Of Cocaethylene

Since it shares chemical similarities with cocaine, the symptoms of cocaethylene use are often similar to those of cocaine use. However, the combined effects of alcohol and cocaine can amplify some symptoms and lead to unique health risks. Some of the most common symptoms of cocaethylene include:

  • Euphoria – Cocaethylene can intensify the euphoric effects of both alcohol and cocaine, leading to increased feelings of pleasure, excitement, and self-confidence. The addition of alcohol can also lessen the quick comedown from cocaine, making the negative symptoms and cravings easier to manage.
  • Increased Energy – Like cocaine, cocaethylene can result in heightened energy levels, alertness, and talkativeness. Cocaine and alcohol together also lower inhibitions, which can lead to risky or dangerous behavior.
  • Increased Heart Rate – Cocaethylene can cause a more significant increase in heart rate and blood pressure than cocaine or alcohol alone, putting strain on the cardiovascular system and causing symptoms like chest pain.
  • Anxiety and Paranoia – The concurrent use of alcohol and cocaine can exacerbate feelings of anxiety, paranoia, or agitation.
  • Dilated Pupils – Similar to the effects of cocaine, cocaethylene can cause dilated pupils.
  • Increased Body Temperature – Cocaethylene can contribute to a rise in body temperature, which may lead to excessive sweating.
  • Insomnia – The stimulant effects of cocaethylene can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
  • Loss of Appetite – Cocaethylene can suppress appetite, resulting in weight loss and malnutrition.
  • Nasal Irritation – Snorting cocaine can cause nasal irritation, bleeding, and damage to the nasal septum.
  • Overdose – Cocaethylene has a much higher toxicity than cocaine or alcohol alone, which greatly increases the risk of overdose and death. In fact, some research estimates that cocaethylene is as much as 25x more likely to cause immediate death than cocaine.

Long-term abuse of alcohol and cocaine together can also have lasting effects on your health, including:

  • Cardiovascular Problems – Cocaethylene has been associated with an increased risk of heart attack, arrhythmias, and cardiomyopathy. It can also cause damage to blood vessels, potentially leading to stroke or other circulatory issues. In higher amounts, cocaethylene may cause cardiotoxicity, or lasting heart damage.
  • Liver Damage – The production of cocaethylene places additional strain on the liver, which can lead to long-term damage and increase the risk of liver disease and failure.
  • Kidney Damage – Cocaethylene can contribute to kidney damage, including acute kidney injury and long-term impairment of kidney function.
  • Cognitive and Psychiatric Effects – Chronic exposure to cocaethylene can lead to long-term cognitive and psychiatric problems, including memory loss, mood disorders, and an increased risk of developing mental health conditions like depression.
  • Neurological Damage – Long-term use of alcohol and cocaine together may cause damage to the brain, leading to an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases and impaired cognitive function.
  • Weakened Immunity – Cocaethylene can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and other illnesses.

How Long Does Cocaethylene Stay In Your System?

Cocaethylene has a longer half-life than cocaine. Half-life refers to the time it takes for half of the substance to be eliminated from the body. Cocaethylene’s half-life is estimated to be around 2 to 3 hours, which is longer than cocaine’s half-life of approximately 1 hour. This means that cocaethylene remains in the body for a longer period of time than cocaine alone.

Alternatively, the half-life of alcohol is estimated to be 4 to 5 hours. Consequently, when alcohol and cocaine are combined, cocaethylene stays in the body for more time than cocaine and less time than alcohol. This can also affect its detectability via different testing methods.

The duration that cocaethylene can be detected in the body depends on the type of test, as well as factors related to the individual being tested, including metabolism and hydration levels. In any case, here are some general timeframes for the detection of cocaethylene:

  • Blood – Detectable up to to 24 hours after the last use.
  • Urine – Detectable between 2 and 5 days after the last use, though this period may be extended for chronic users.
  • Saliva – Detectable for up to 1 to 2 days after the lase use.
  • Hair – Detectable for up to 90 days or more after the last use.

It is important to remember that these timeframes are approximate and can vary based on a wide range of factors. The best way to avoid the risks associated with cocaethylene is to abstain from using alcohol and cocaine together. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, it is imperative that you seek professional help to address the addiction and minimize potential harm.

Get Help With An Inpatient Drug & Alcohol Rehab

When you are struggling to put down the bottle or stop using cocaine, recovery should be your top priority. It may seem difficult or even impossible right now, but if you can access professional help, sobriety could be right around the corner. Take the first step to help yourself or a loved one overcome addiction and get a new lease on life at Wellbrook Recovery in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of cocaethylene and is looking for inpatient drug rehab and/or alcohol rehab, reach out to Wellbrook Recovery today.

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