Tag Archives: Overdose

Xanax and Alcohol


With Xanax (a brand name for Alprazolam) one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S., it’s understandable that it’s mixed with other substances.  Some people do so without knowing how substances interact, while others are hoping to intensify effects or offset certain side effects. For example, Alcohol depresses the Central Nervous System (CNS), and while it can provide an initial buzz it also eventually causes drowsiness. Subsequently, people will mix it with stimulants, like cocaine to offset feeling sleepy. Polysubstance abuse is the abuse of 3 or more substances, often involving alcohol. It’s common for people to mix Xanax, alcohol and a third substance if not more. Neither substance is necessarily a bad thing, but they are both frequently misused and together can cause negative effects.

Alcohol is a popular drink around the world. The general acceptance of alcohol use, and heavy alcohol consumption, makes it difficult for a lot of people to recognize when use has turned to abuse, dependence, and addiction. As not everyone fully understands the negative effects of alcohol, they might not realize how dangerous it can be to mix Xanax and alcohol.

What is Alcohol?

The type of alcohol that humans drink is ethyl alcohol.The history of human’s interactions with alcohol is long and complicated. While the way it’s made and how it affects people has changed, it’s something that’s been around for thousands of years. Over time, as people learned more about the dangers of alcohol, there have been periods where it was banned, like Prohibition in the U.S. Some countries ban the use of it entirely or specific groups within countries ban the use. In a lot of countries today alcohol use is widespread and socially acceptable. Many recognize the dangers, but few realize how little it takes to experience dangerous effects or for it to turn to abuse. 

A lot of people know that it’s possible to have an addiction to alcohol. Still, they tend to have the image of the stereotypical drunk in mind: someone unable to do simple tasks, falling over in public, and generally incoherent. Furthermore, a lot of young people tend to engage in binge drinking with the assumption that they’re just young and doing what young people do. The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines men’s binge drinking as five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. For women, it’s considered four or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. Taking those numbers into consideration, the study also found, “In 2017, about 1 in 4 people aged 12 or older were current binge alcohol users.”

Effects of Alcohol Use

Many people know that alcohol is a depressant, which they understand to mean it causes depression. That is a possible side effect, but it is also a central nervous system depressant. 

This can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired cognitive function and coordination 
  • Lowered inhibition
  • Respiratory Depression
  • Coma 
  • Death


Given the pervasiveness of alcohol consumption, and risky drinking in particular, it’s unfortunate that a lot of people don’t fully understand how it can negatively affect them. The National Cancer Institute cites strong scientific consensus showing clear evidence between alcohol consumption and various types of cancer. Furthermore, it’s possible for drinking excessively to lead to a weakened immune system leaving someone vulnerable to diseases. In addition to impairing cognitive function, the ability to think clearly and use coordination, it also causes issues with the heart, liver, and pancreas. 

In moderation, alcohol is not going to cause these symptoms and some believe there are benefits to occasional consumption. However, a lot of people, particularly starting in their youth, consume more than they should. Alcohol impairs decision making, which likely contributes to people’s decisions to mix substances. Others possibly consciously choose to mix substances in an attempt to enhance the experience of each substance.

Xanax Recreational Use

Xanax is a legal prescription drug for short-term use under medical supervision. It often treats anxiety and insomnia. Many providers consider it to have a high risk of misuse, due largely in part to dependence and addiction setting in quickly for a number of people. Xanax works by calming down an over-excited CNS and increasing dopamine in the brain. This provides a “Xanax High”, or a euphoric feeling that people desire when misusing Xanax. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found that Xanax is one of the top three prescription drugs diverted to the illegal/illicit market. Most people using Xanax recreationally likely do not realize the serious long term effects of Xanax use. 

With Xanax, the brain adjusts and finds it difficult to adjust without it. Someone misusing Xanax is more likely to end up taking increased doses. They do so to continue to feel the same effects and to feel the euphoria or Xanax High they are chasing. Suddenly stopping often results in severe withdrawal symptoms, making it difficult to quit without professional help. It’s possible for withdrawal symptoms to last for months after ceasing use, making relapse more likely. Xanax depresses the CNS, often causing drowsiness, impairing motor and cognitive function, and slowed breathing. This is incredibly dangerous if mixed with other depressants.

Mixing Xanax and Alcohol

Mixing Xanax and alcohol isn’t going to result in overdose or death every time. Still, it’s a risk that isn’t worth it. Both can cause serious side effects apart from overdose or death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), analyzed data from 2010 showing alcohol was involved in 27.2% of emergency department visits related to benzodiazepine (benzo) abuse. Further, of 1,512 benzo-related deaths that year, 324 also involved alcohol. Any death is clearly one too many.


Both Xanax and alcohol are CNS depressants, which makes them dangerous when mixed. Some use Xanax and alcohol for sleep separately, but also try using them together. They both cause respiratory depression, or slowed breathing, which significantly increases the risk of overdose and death. Many people use alcohol as a means to help calm anxiety. It also can provide a euphoric high, or even simply an overall feeling of peace and happiness. A number of people will likely want to enhance the effects of Xanax and alcohol. They’re looking to feel something of a “Xanax and alcohol high”. Increasing consumption of both substances increases the risk of permanent damage, or of overdose or death. Adding any other substances further increases this risk. It’s unfortunately common for people to take opioids with benzos. This is a dangerous mix on its own and made even more dangerous with alcohol.


For anyone using Xanax and alcohol, they likely need professional help. Xanax withdrawal is potentially severe and too difficult to do without proper help. Depending on severity of abuse and addiction, alcohol withdrawal is one of the few types of substances where withdrawal can result in severe complications or death. Anyone with a dependence or addiction to either substance, or especially both, should seek professional help. Reach out today for resources, support, and any help you might need.

Top 10 Drugs That Can Cause Fatal Overdoses

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Top 10 Drugs That Can Cause Fatal Overdoses

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been keeping an eye on the drug overdose statistics, drug addiction statistics, and drug deaths per year in the United States and its outlying territories. In 2015, there were 52,898 deaths from drug overdoses, and 64,070 deaths occurred in 2016. These account for the total number of deaths from drug overdoses, but many different drugs are to blame.

What Drugs Cause Overdose?

Some drugs are more dangerous than others. Here are some of the most common drugs that cause death from an overdose:

1. Heroin Overdose Deaths

Heroin is the most lethal drug in the United States. It was the fifth most fatal drug in 2010 with 3,020 deaths. That number went up to 10,863 in just four years. Since 2014, it has been steadily growing each year with 13,219 deaths in 2015 and 15,446 in 2016. A person suffering from a heroin overdose will experience a systemwide shutdown, causing lethal respiratory depression. It will slow and then stop the heart. The risk is highest for first-time users and those relapsing, due to their low tolerance.

2. Cocaine Overdose Deaths

Cocaine has the second highest deaths, with 10,619 in 2016. In 2010, cocaine was the third most lethal drug by causing 4,312 deaths, but has gone up since. In 2014 there were 5,856 deaths, and in 2015, 6,986 deaths. Someone who is experiencing a cocaine overdose has a heart that is overworking, dangerously increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Cocaine users take repeated doses over a short amount of time to maintain their high, which contributes to overdosing.

3. Oxycodone Overdose Deaths

Top 10 Drugs That Can Cause Fatal OverdosesOxycodone is a highly addictive drug, which causes people to increase intake as they chase the effect. It is an opioid prescribed for pain, but people often abuse it for the heroin-like high it produces. When an overdose occurs, the person will have lethargic behavior, strange breathing patterns, and a lowered heart rate. In 2014, there were 5,417 deaths from oxycodone, which went up slightly from four years earlier. In 2010, oxycodone was the most lethal drug, with 5,256 deaths. In 2015, there were about 33,000 deaths from opioids, specifically oxycodone, methadone, and hydrocodone.

4. Alprazolam Overdose Deaths

Alprazolam is known by the brand Xanax; drinking alcohol with Xanax can cause overdoses. Physicians prescribe alprazolam to treat anxiety and panic attacks. Drowsiness and coma are overdose symptoms, caused by nervous system depression. Alprazolam is the fourth most lethal drug with 4,217 deaths in 2014; it has maintained that standing since 2010 when there were 3,677 deaths.

5. Fentanyl Overdose Deaths

Fentanyl was the eighth most lethal drug in 2010 with 1,645 deaths. In four years, however, that number jumped up to fifth place, with 4,200 deaths. Fentanyl is more potent than heroin and the amount of fentanyl equal to three grains of sugar can kill a man. Mexican drug cartels distribute most of the illegal fentanyl. Doctors prescribe this drug to help cancer patients manage breakthrough pain after they develop a tolerance to other strong opioid pain medications. Fentanyl overdose causes lower blood pressure, a slowed heart rate, excessive drowsiness, and death.

6. Morphine Overdose Deaths

Morphine has maintained its standing as the sixth most lethal drug in the country. In 2010, there were 2,941 deaths from morphine and in 2014 there were 4,022 deaths. Morphine manages pain but is easily and regularly abused. Morphine causes breathing to become slow and shallow, and eventually stop during an overdose.

7. Methamphetamine Overdose Deaths

Methamphetamine, known more commonly as meth, use has increased in four short years. It was the 10th most dangerous drug in 2010, with 1,388 deaths; it then increased to seventh place in 2014, with 3,728 deaths. Meth is popular because it is cheap to make, and its use has reached epidemic levels in many parts of the country. Someone suffering from a meth overdose will have an increased heart rate and body temperature because meth is a stimulant. It can result in heart attacks and high blood pressure.

8. Methadone Overdose Deaths

Physicians often prescribe methadone to help people going through heroin withdrawal. It is easily abused and very addictive. Someone going through methadone overdose will have slowed breathing, lowered heart rate, severe drowsiness, and muscle weakness. About 1,000 people a day are hospitalized for opioid abuse. Methadone deaths have decreased from the second most common drug overdose death in 2010 with 4,408 deaths to eighth place in 2014, when dropped to 3,495. There was only a slight decrease in 2015 to 3,276 deaths and 3,314 in 2016.

9. Hydrocodone Overdose Deaths

Hydrocodone has decreased slightly from being the seventh most lethal drug in 2010 to ninth most lethal in 2014. There were 2,844 deaths in 2010 and 3,274 deaths from hydrocodone in 2014. Hydrocodone is a pain medication with a high potential for physical dependency. Hydrocodone overdose manifests in a weak pulse, low blood pressure, and trouble breathing

10. Diazepam Overdose Deaths

Diazepam is the 10th most lethal drug in the United States, causing 1,729 deaths in 2014. In 2010, it was the ninth most lethal with 1,448 deaths. Diazepam is a benzodiazepine that treats anxiety and alcohol withdrawal. Someone who is going through diazepam overdose will experience confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, and eventually, unresponsiveness.

Preventing Overdose Deaths

Drug overdose is a problem of epidemic proportion in this country. The best way to avoid overdose is to seek help when you are struggling with addiction and know what drugs can cause death from overdoses. The sooner you get help, the safer, healthier, and happier you will be. Visit Fight Addiction Now! for resources on detox, treatment, and recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

Wisonsin Boy Rescues Father From Overdose

Wisonsin Boy Rescues Father From Overdose

This last Thursday in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin, an 8-year-old boy found his dad unresponsive and in a slumped position over the steering wheel of their family car. The courageous young 8-year-old found himself in a position to take control of the critical situation by calling 911. When police arrived and emergency services provided assistance to the father that police would later report was the victim of a drug-overdose, Waukesha Police Cpt. Dan Bauman praised the boy for the actions he took that allowed his father to be taken to recover in a nearby hospital.

The Waukesha Police Cpt. Dan Bauman, that had commended the boy for his actions, also went on to advice the public on the seriousness of issues like this.

“This is not just a police department issue or a district attorney’s issue, we will not arrest our way out of this problem. This is a true community issue here”, he said when interviewed.

This time things ended up working out, thanks to the hasty actions of a young boy. All too often however, and in similar circumstances, there is often hesitation on the part of the individual, or individuals, that are in the position that that boy was in on Thursday. The hesitation to call 911 to the scene of a presumed overdose for fear out of possibly incurring criminal charges has been a topic of ongoing debate, and is the exact reason many in the past haven’t chosen to make what could have been a life-saving phone call, and a reason many still yet may hesitate to do so.

If emergency medical assistance can get to an overdose victim quickly enough many times they can prevent it from becoming fatal, but people using drugs or alcohol illegally often fear arrest if they call 911. In an effort to combat this hesitation many states have policies in place that exempt arrest and prosecution for minor drug and alcohol law violations – often referred to as Good Samaritan Laws, or Good Samaritan 911 Laws.

20 states in our country, as well as the District of Columbia, have policies in place that provide immunity from minor drug law violations, such as possession or possession of paraphernalia, though it’s important to note that these laws won’t apply to charges related to driving drunk or drugged, or to drug trafficking.

Click Here to find out if your state is one with a Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Law

What you need to know about Narcan

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What you need to know about Narcan

In an effort to curb opioid-related overdoses, emergency responders and law enforcement agencies in many places around the country continueto scramble for strategies aimed at preventing overdose deaths at the “pre-hospital level”. A product called NARCAN Nasal Spray (Naloxone HCl), more commonly referred to as “naloxone” is a key contributor in the ability of first responders to save lives when arriving at the scene of a suspected overdose. Traditionally and still currently, naloxone is administered intravenously. At the most basic chemical level naloxone HCl is a substance that blocks opioid receptors in the body and actively (as well as quite quickly) reverses the effects of an opioid overdose when given to an individual.

Though many first responders now carry naloxone, including the easy-to-use intra-nasal delivery systems, the NARCAN nasal spray and naloxone’s other forms are unfortunately still prescription products and aren’t available for public purchase everywhere. However, we’ve included this important link, and included it again at the end of this post, that will allow to you find out if you or a loved one lives in a state that may have laws or arrangements in place that allow for the purchase of naloxone without an individual prescription.

If you do live in a place that allows you to carry naloxone, and you choose to do so, it’s important to be able to properly identify signs of a potential opioid-related overdose, know how to use your naloxone product, as well as important information regarding it’s use.

Indications that someone may be experiencing an opioid overdose:

– Slowed breathing, or not breathing at all
– Very small, pinpoint pupils in the eyes
– A slow heartbeat
– Extreme drowsiness and/or a lack of responsiveness
– Subject becoming blue in face or lips

Important information about naloxone:

 Depending on the administration device naloxone typically costs

  • $40-50 for boxed pre-loaded syringes
  • $5 for a nasal adaptor
  • About $15 for bag to make a naloxone administration kit

– Naloxone should be administered immediately in the event of a suspected overdose
– Naloxone may need to be administered repeatedly every 2-3 minutes if the individual is not responding, or until emergency assistance arrives
– Naloxone has been reported to cause withdrawal symptoms in patients following administration
– Administering naloxone DOES NOT alleviate the requirement for emergency care – calling 911 is always the first step in the event of any emergency
-Naloxone/Narcan has a short half-life and overdose still possible after the reversal has taken place
-Naloxone DOES NOT reverse the side effects of benzodiazepine overdose (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin)

Naloxone laws and availability by state

Source: PO