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Cocaine and Alcohol a ‘deadly Combination’

Mixing cocaine and alcohol together creates a “deadly combination” which can increase violent and impulsive behaviour, doctors are warning.

Figures show there has been a rise in the number of alcohol-and-cocaine-related deaths over the past two decades, plus an increase in cocaine use.

Professor of addiction psychiatry Julia Sinclair, who is chairwoman of the faculty of addictions at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, explained that alcohol and cocaine were very different pharmacologically.

“Alcohol is a depressant, it increases the levels of Gaba (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain, which is like its handbrake and makes us feel less anxious.

“You add cocaine into the mix and you have a rocket-fuelled increased impulsivity which gives people the driver to complete an act that they may not otherwise do. It’s like crossing a road in front of a car speeding towards you.”

Some research in the US even suggests the mixture could increase the risk of suicide by a factor of 16.

Some doctors believe that when you mix the two the liver produces a substance called cocaethylene, which may temporarily enhance the high – but also increases blood pressure, poor judgement and violent thoughts.

By Anna CollinsonVictoria Derbyshire programme

Source: BBC Health News, September 30, 2019.

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