The Dangers of Mixing Cocaine and Xanax - Charlotte Detox Center

People who mix Xanax and cocaine together typically do so because the drugs have the opposite effects. Xanax is known as a “downer” because it makes people feel relaxed, while cocaine is an “upper” that gives people energy. Usually, people who use cocaine take Xanax because it changes their “high,” helps them calm down, reduces symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, or helps them manage a mental health condition like anxiety.

Cocaine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, meaning it activates neurotransmitters in the brain.[1] On the other hand, Xanax is a CNS depressant that produces relaxation by affecting the gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptors in the brain.[2] Mixing cocaine and Xanax often results in the substances masking the symptoms of one another. This is dangerous and often leads to overdose and other negative consequences.

Cocaine

Xanax

What Happens When Cocaine and Xanax are Mixed?

Xanax is a drug that is prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders because it slows the body’s stress responses, lowers blood pressure, slows breathing, and slows the heart rate. Contrarily, cocaine is a stimulant drug that causes people to stay awake for long periods of time and feel happy or energized. Cocaine speeds up an individual’s heart rate, raises their body temperature, and raises their blood pressure.

When cocaine wears off, people often feel depressed and worn out due to the crash it causes. Because of this, some people may take Xanax to take the edge off of the effects of cocaine. This is done in hopes that they will become more relaxed and experience less of the negative effects of a cocaine “crash.”

Unfortunately, mixing cocaine and Xanax typically causes the effects of each drug to become amplified rather than canceling each other out. Additionally, mixing these substances puts individuals at a high risk of overdosing.

Side Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Xanax

Despite popular belief, mixing cocaine and Xanax does not cancel out the effects of either drug. Taking Xanax while on cocaine does not calm a person down and taking cocaine on Xanax does not provide an individual with more energy. Instead, the person will experience intensified side effects of each drug along with new, damaging symptoms.

Cocaine and Xanax have opposing effects on an individual. Xanax decreases anxiety and energy, increases drowsiness, and results in depression. On the other hand, cocaine causes euphoria, high energy, sensory sensitivity, as well as increased anxiety and paranoia.[3]

The similarities of cocaine and Xanax include irritability and restlessness. When a person is coming down off of cocaine, they tend to experience fatigue and depression. Because these are typically side effects of Xanax, combining the two substances only intensifies these issues. This can lead to an increase in self-harming or suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Additionally, it may increase an individual’s desire to use more cocaine, increasing the risk factor for addiction and overdose.

The side effects of mixing Xanax and cocaine may include:

Side Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Xanax

  • Changes in heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Not being able to focus or think clearly
  • Tiredness
  • Feelings of depression, self-harming thoughts, or suicidal ideation and behaviors
  • Paranoia
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Dependence and addiction
  • Overdose
  • Death

Overdosing on Cocaine and Xanax

An overdose occurs when an individual takes more of a substance than their body can handle.
Overdoses cause serious damage and often result in death without immediate medical intervention. Many overdoses occur because of tolerance and dependence. To explain, tolerance is the act of an individual’s body adjusting to having the substance present, causing the person to take increasingly higher doses to produce the desired effect.

Dependence occurs when the body begins to rely on the presence of a given substance in order to work normally. In other words, the individual’s body cannot function without the substance. This means that if the individual does not use the substance, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal. People may become dependent on Xanax or cocaine when used individually, however, the chances of dependency increase when these substances are mixed.

Symptoms of a cocaine and Xanax overdose include:

Overdosing on Cocaine and Xanax

  • Confusion
  • Dissociation from reality
  • Feeling too hot or cold
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular breathing patterns
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Feeling off-balance or falling down
  • Passing out

If an individual is experiencing an overdose from Xanax and cocaine, emergency medical services must be contacted immediately. While many overdoses result in death, medical professionals have a drug that they can administer to reverse the effects of an overdose while they provide life support.

Treatment for Polysubstance Abuse

Abusing multiple substances at once causes unpredictable effects and therefore, is extremely dangerous. This is especially true for individuals who mix Xanax and cocaine, as these drugs produce the opposite effects. Unfortunately, many people place themselves at risk of addiction and overdose without realizing it.

Abusing Xanax and cocaine simultaneously is a form of polysubstance abuse. This is a specific type of drug addiction that involves an individual abusing more than one drug at once. While polysubstance abuse can be more difficult to treat, there are professional addiction treatment centers that specialize in the treatment of polysubstance abuse. Contact Charlotte Detox Center today for more information on how to recover from Xanax and cocaine addiction.

References:

  1. Cocaine | C17H21NO4 – PubChem (nih.gov)
  2. Alprazolam | C17H13ClN4 – PubChem (nih.gov)
  3. What are the short-term effects of cocaine use? | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor

About

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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