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Mixing alcohol with prescription medication

Many people in Tampa take medications to manage their health. These have warnings on them that inform patients about their use, side effects and mixed interactions. However, many people fail to heed those warnings and consume alcohol at the same time, or within a few hours of taking prescription drugs. Anyone who is taking medication needs to understand how mixing alcohol with prescription or over-the-counter drugs may affect them.

Alcohol and depressants

How alcohol affects a person when it is mixed with medicine is dependent on the type of drug. Some prescriptions, such as Valium and Xanax, are classified as depressants, and so is alcohol. This means they have a depressing effect on each other and the body that slows things down. When people combine the two, they may experience dizziness, trouble breathing and even lose their life.

Alcohol, stimulants and opiates

People who mix alcohol with stimulants such as Ritalin often have trouble recognizing they are under the influence of both substances. They may experience nausea, dizziness, loss of physical coordination, lose consciousness or even die. Alcohol and opiate use can lead to slowed breathing, a depressed pulse, low blood pressure, seizures, coma and death. Some people unknowingly mix their prescriptions with alcohol. Others do so intentionally, so they can experience the enhanced effects or feel high.

Over-the-counter medications and alcohol

People who take over-the-counter pain medications and cold medicines are also at risk for harm when they also consume alcohol. In particular, cold and cough remedies may have mind-altering effects, such as reducing the ability to make good decisions, when combined with beer, wine, liquors or other drinks. In addition, these medicines may already have alcohol in them, so a person may not realize that he or she has a higher blood alcohol concentration.

Effects of alcohol and prescription drugs on driving

Not only does the mixture of alcohol and drugs lead to health problems, it can also lead to motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities. The combination of these substances can cause drivers to have slower reaction times, poor cognitive and motor skills, perception issues and to exhibit dangerous driving behaviors. They are also at risk of being apprehended by law enforcement and charged with DUIs.

It is important to take medications as directed and to avoid the use of alcohol. Failure to do so could lead to some life changing consequences that could affect your health, and the lives of others. When dealing with the aftermath of a situation where prescription drugs and alcohol are factors, you may benefit from discussing your situation with a DUI attorney who can assist you with the matter.

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