Lots of intoxicating substances can be fatal when used in excess and some combinations increase the likelihood of overdose and fatality. One such combination is simultaneous alcohol and OxyContin consumption. As legal substances, both drugs are easily accessible and often abused. To fully understand the dangers of this blend, it is important to examine the effects of these substances, as their interaction often carries tragic consequences.
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Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant (CNS) This substance is ever-present within society and is the most abused substance in the world. As a CNS, alcohol impacts brain function, motor skills, and cognitive functioning. When used in excess, alcohol is likely to act as a poison to the physical body, causing the user to vomit or become unconscious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 95,000 deaths each year are attributed to alcohol consumption. These fatalities include alcohol-induced traffic accidents, liver failure, and alcohol poisoning, among others.
OxyContin began distribution in 1995 and was hailed a medical breakthrough throughout the medical community. This powerful painkiller is twice as potent as morphine and, as of 2018, is prescribed over 16 million times per year. As an opioid,OxyContin provides pain relief by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain. OxyContin, along with other synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids, are at the center of the current opioid epidemic due to the high likelihood of dependence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 41 people died each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids in 2018 alone.
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Alcohol and OxyContin
As a legal substance, alcohol is easily accessible which is the main contributor to its high rate of addiction. Similarly, OxyContin is one of the most frequently prescribed opiates in the United States, which has led to high rates of dependency. Since these two substances are in regular circulation, combining these substances is common, and potentially fatal.
Both alcohol and OxyContin are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. CNS depressants work to slow the body down, creating relaxed motor functioning, shallow breathing and a slowed heart rate. When combined, the body absorbs an excess of CNS depressants which can overwhelm the organs, specifically the respiratory system. This causes dangerously suppressed breathing and a diminished heart rate. According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, taking one oxycodone tablet together with even a modest amount of alcohol increases the risk of a potentially life-threatening side effect known as respiratory depression, which causes breathing to become extremely shallow or stop altogether. With a decrease in oxygen supply, the brain signals organ systems to shut down causing cardiac arrest, stroke, or death.
Asheville Recovery Center Can Help
Alcohol and OxyContin are both highly addictive and dangerous when abused on their own, especially, when combined. It is extremely important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with any substance addiction. At Asheville Recovery Center, treatment specialists have developed a unique, hybrid model of treatment which combines a traditional 12-step program with holistic rehabilitation. A multitude of services, programs, and therapies are offered, including the Partial Hospitalization Program, Residential-style treatment, outpatient rehabilitation, and more.
The founders of Asheville Recovery Center, as well as many of our addiction therapists, have struggled with addiction and now enjoy life in recovery. They understand the struggles of addiction and how difficult it is to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call (828)383-0784 and speak with an addiction expert today so you can take the first step towards a rewarding life of sobriety