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Alcohol and morphine abuse by themselves can be lethal, but when mixed, this concoction of chemicals can result in severe internal and external bodily destruction. With more than   Americans addicted to prescription painkillers, like morphine, and alcohol misuse a leading factor for premature death and disability, it is important to understand these statistics and the dangers of mixing these highly addictive substances.


To understand how one reacts to the other in the body and the dangers it causes, we have to dive deeper into the interactions of each.


Alcohol’s Interaction With The Body

Closed beer bottles on a table. There are many dangers to mixing alcohol and morphine

Alcohol is a depressant, which in turn can make you drowsy. It also changes your brain’s communication pathways, which influence coordination, speech, mood, and behavior. Alcohol also dilates the blood vessels, which can result in flushed skin and a drop in blood pressure. Additionally, 20% of alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream through the stomach and 80% is absorbed from the small intestine, which can greatly impact where long-term effects occur.


Now keep in mind, that list of interactions is only pertaining to alcohol’s effect on the body. So, let’s discuss morphine.


Morphine’s Interaction With The Body

Morphine is a prescription opioid that is derived from the poppy plant. As one of the oldest medications in history, morphine is an effective and powerful drug. The drug is regularly prescribed and is designed to treat pain after surgery and/or injury. In fact, morphine is such a common medicine that in 2017 alone, statistics show that more than four million prescriptions were filled.


Morphine is typically injected into the bloodstream at the hospital, but it can also be taken as a pill or a syrup. It works by triggering various receptors, which include:

  •       1-receptors (the inability to feel pain and causes euphoria)
  •       m 2-receptors (causes drowsiness)
  •       k-receptors (mild respiratory depression)
  •       d-receptors (causes delusions and hallucinations)


While morphine can affect all of these receptors, it most often creates a high of euphoria and a decrease in pain – which is what an addict typically seeks while abusing this medication.


What Happens When you Mix Alcohol and Morphine?

A woman standing and wondering what happens if you mix morphine and alcohol

When mixing alcohol and morphine, your brain receives conflicting signals – it is like getting multiple text messages to your phone with conflicting plans from your group of friends. No one knows what to do or where to go. When this happens, queues from alcohol will be masked by the morphine and vise versa, causing the body to intensify the effects of each. This involves the slowing of breath, increased chance of a rapid overdose, and more.


Signs of Mixed Alcohol and Morphine Abuse

When abused on their own, both alcohol and morphine have strong overdose signals. When the two are mixed, however, the symptoms start to mesh into one and produce similar signs.

These signs include:

  •       Shallow breathing
  •       Dizziness
  •       Confusion
  •       Cardiac arrest (from morphine)
  •       Loss of consciousness (from alcohol)
  •       Circulatory system collapse (from morphine)
  •       Impaired coordination (from alcohol)


If someone is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to call 911 as failing to do so can result in a coma or even death.


Long Term Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Morphine

The long-term effects of mixed alcohol and morphine abuse come from a combination of each substance’s extenuating effects.


Alcohol Abuse Long-Term Effects:

  •       Body dependence
  •       Diminished brain matter
  •       Memory and attention span loss
  •       Trouble learning and focusing
  •       Hepatitis by Alcohol
  •       Liver fibrosis and a fatty liver
  •       Cancer
  •       High blood pressure
  •       Cardiomyopathy Stroke
  •       Irregular heartbeat


Morphine Abuse Long-Term Effects:

  •       Body dependence
  •       Restlessness and insomnia
  •       Depression
  •       Weakened immune system
  •       Bowel issues
  •       Confusion


With these individual long-term effects of alcohol and morphine laid out, you can now see how detrimental mixing the two can be to the body. There are more than fifteen different long-term effects that can occur when the two are mixed, and it is possible to experience every single one.


How Do I Get Help?

If you or someone you love has been abusing alcohol and morphine, it is important to get help as soon as possible. Even a one-time mixture of these substances can lead to an addiction, but if treated early, the long term effects can be minimized. To learn more about addiction and to find a rehabilitation facility near you, click here.  


About the Author


Landmark Recovery Staff

This post was written by a Landmark Recovery staff member. If you have any questions, please contact us at 888-448-0302.

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