Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication used to treat anxiety disorders, sleep problems and seizures. Unfortunately, people often misuse it. Cocaine, or coke, is a white powder that comes from the coca plant leaves. Xanax is a central nervous system, or “downer,” while cocaine is a stimulant, or “upper.” Sometimes, people will mix the two drugs together while getting high. If you know someone who mixes these substances, it is important to understand the dangers of doing so.
Why Do People Mix Xanax and Cocaine?
People sometimes mix Xanax and coke because they feel that Xanax can help ease the effects that occur when coming down from a cocaine high. However, combining these substances is dangerous and can increase the risk of an overdose on one or both drugs.
What Happens If You Mix Xanax and Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant, which means that it ramps up different processes in the body. It can make people feel more energetic and happy as well as increase their heart rate and breathing speed. For these reasons, people often refer to it as an “upper.” Xanax has the opposite effect and slows down these processes, leading people to label it a “downer.”
Each drug comes with its own set of side effects. Mixing cocaine and Xanax together, or combining them with other substances, can mask the side effects of each drug. This can make people more likely to have an overdose because you can no longer tell based on the side effects when you have had too much. Lastly, abusing Xanax and coke can increase the risk of becoming addicted to both drugs.
Short-term effects of taking Xanax may include:
- Dizziness or balance problems
- Problems focusing or remembering things
- Feeling irritable or depressed
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Vision problems
Cocaine can make someone experience:
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Rapid heartbeat
- Breathing problems
- Anxiety or depression
Mixing Xanax and coke makes many of these side effects more prominent. In particular, taking these drugs together can profoundly impact a person’s mental health. Each can increase feelings of sadness and irritability, and the combination can put a person at a higher risk of suicide. People may also be more likely to engage in risky behavior or try to hurt others taking both drugs.
Symptoms often become worse when a person takes both drugs. Unfortunately, people are also less likely to notice certain negative side effects because of the contrasting effects that these two drugs have. When using both drugs, people may not realize when cocaine is making them feel too worked up or causing their heart to beat too fast, because they are feeling mellow from the Xanax. On the other hand, a person may not realize when Xanax is causing their body to slow down too much because the cocaine is making them feel more mentally alert and energetic.
If someone mistakenly thinks that they aren’t feeling strong effects from one of these drugs, they may take more and become more likely to have an overdose. The number of deaths due to cocaine and benzodiazepine overdoses has risen in recent years.
The biggest long-term risk of repeatedly mixing coke with Xanax is the increased chance of developing tolerance, dependence and addiction. These three concepts are different but related to each other:
- Drug tolerance occurs when the body gets used to a substance, causing a person to need larger doses in order to effect.
- Dependence refers to a condition where a person takes drugs often enough that they will go through withdrawal if they stop.
- Addiction is a disease where someone can’t control how often they use a substance, and they continue using substances despite negative consequences.
The more often someone abuses drugs like cocaine and Xanax, the more likely they are to experience all three of these things. Their risk further increases if they regularly use multiple substances at a time.
Mixing the substances also puts a person at risk of overdose each time they use Xanax and cocaine.
Xanax and Cocaine Overdose
During a Xanax overdose, a person’s bodily processes can slow down so much that they stop altogether. Symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
- Movement difficulties
- Mood and cognitive changes
Cocaine can speed up a person’s body so much that their organs can’t function properly. Symptoms include:
- Fast heart rate
People who combine these substances should be aware of the symptoms of Xanax and coke overdoses. If you suspect someone has overdosed on Xanax and cocaine, you should call 911 immediately. Those who take Xanax after coke may be tempted to take too much cocaine because they feel extra relaxed and want to feel energetic again. Limiting the amounts of each drug taken can help people avoid overdosing.
Related Topic: Cocaine Overdose
Related Topic: Xanax Overdose
Dangers of Polysubstance Abuse and Addiction
Taking multiple substances together is dangerous, as the effects can be unpredictable, and one drug can mask the effects of the other. In 2019 alone, almost half of drug overdose deaths occurred when people combined substances.
Signs that someone is becoming addicted to one or more substances like Xanax and cocaine include:
- Missing school or work to take substances
- Unsuccessfully trying to cut back on or quit substances
- Needing increasingly high doses of the substances to achieve the same effects as before
- Spending a lot of time obtaining, using or recovering from substances
- Experiencing withdrawal effects when you try to stop the substances
- Having social problems linked to using the substance
Get Help Today
Are you or someone you love having problems quitting cocaine or Xanax? If so, The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health is here to help. We offer a full continuum of services, from detox to rehab to aftercare, to keep you sober over the long term. Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans and programs that can work well for your situation.
National Harm Reduction Coalition. “Overdose Risks & Prevention.” September 1, 2020. Accessed August 28, 2022.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Overdose Death Rates.” January 20, 2022. Accessed August 28, 2022.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Cocaine DrugFacts.” April 2021. Accessed August 28, 2022.
Kang, Michael; Galuska, Michael A.; & Ghassemzadeh, Sassan. “Benzodiazepine Toxicity.” StatPearls, June 27, 2022. Accessed August 28, 2022.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Polysubstance Use Facts.” February 23, 2022. Accessed August 28, 2022.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.