Whats behind the stunning rise in alcohol-related deaths PBS NewsHour

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A majority of methamphetamine (Meth) abusers also abuse alcohol but the neurochemical consequences of this co-abuse are unknown. Individually, alcohol and Meth cause inflammation and long-term alterations in dopamine and serotonin signaling within the brain. Experiments were conducted to identify if serial exposure to alcohol and Meth has neurochemical consequences that are greater than after either drug alone. Male Sprague Dawley rats voluntarily drank 10% ethanol (EtOH) every other day for 4 weeks and were then exposed to a binge injection regimen of Meth (10mg/kg injected every 2 hrs, for a total of 4 injections). EtOH drinking and preference increased over the 4 weeks and caused inflammation evidenced by increases in serum and brain lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and brain cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) 24 hours after the last day of drinking.

Factors affecting alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harm

This suggests that the same brain ECF cocaine concentration produced higher neurochemical response after co-administration of alcohol, causing more intense and longer lasting euphoric effects. This stronger response may be caused by the pharmacologically active metabolite cocaethylene [59]. Someone who is suffering from addiction to meth and alcoholism is suffering from co-occurring disorders. Co-occurring disorders are two or more mental health disorders which thrive on one another.

  1. Many people who are addicted to meth also drink alcohol, and some people are even addicted to both substances.
  2. Different aspect of interaction between alcohol and cocaine exposure are shown in Figure 7 and described below.
  3. Direct and indirect mechanisms both may play an important role in alcohol-Drug interactions.
  4. The result is that drinking alcohol amplifies the sensations of euphoria which characterize a typical meth “rush.” This only strengthens meth addiction and increases the possibility that a person may one day suffer an overdose.

Mental Health Awareness Month

We usually experience failures along the way, learn from them, and then keep going. Professionals in the alcohol treatment field offer advice on what to consider when choosing a treatment program. The good news is that no matter how severe the problem may seem, most people with AUD can benzodiazepine withdrawal benefit from some form of treatment. Healthline does not endorse the use of any illegal substances, and we recognize abstaining from them is always the safest approach. However, we believe in providing accessible and accurate information to reduce the harm that can occur when using.

4. Alcohol-Opioid Interactions

Alcohol magnifies the risks of meth and makes breaking free from meth addiction even more difficult, but there are treatment options to help people overcome co-occurring alcohol and meth disorders. First, stimulants can mask the effects of alcohol, like sleepiness or the relaxing intoxication. This means you will feel sedated from two or more drinks and are therefore more likely to binge drink.

Therefore, alcohol-drug interaction must be considered when developing alcoholism therapy. Acute alcohol exposure has been shown to potentiate the opioid-induced increase in analgesia and CNS depression, leading to serious side effects including respiratory distress, coma, and death [148,149]. Chronic alcohol exposure may develop coaddiction when addiction to one drug (such as an opioid) enhances craving for another such as alcohol [150,151,152,153,154,155].

Thus, the synergistic depletions of monoamines observed after the serial exposure to EtOH and Meth are not due to decreased metabolism of Meth by the liver. Blood was collected in heparinized capillary tubes 15 min after the last dose of EtOH gavage or 4 hrs into the dark cycle of the drinking rats on Day 28. The time of collection was based on a pilot study showing this time point was the peak drinking period of EtOH. The blood was centrifuged for 45 seconds in a Microfuge to collect the plasma supernatant and the EtOH concentrations were analyzed via the Analox Analyzer (model GL5; Analox Instruments USA, Lunenburg, MA). People who struggle with depression or anxiety are at greater risk of self-medicating with alcohol, and abusing meth can induce these mood disorders.

While both substances can be dangerous and life-threatening when abused independently, the risk of overdose increases when they are combined. In a study conducted on rats, intravenous injections of cocaine increased alcohol drinking, suggesting that cocaine potentiated alcohol seeking [87]. This suggests that alcohol and cocaine, when co-administered, potentiate what is ayahuasca the effects of individual drugs. Different aspect of interaction between alcohol and cocaine exposure are shown in Figure 7 and described below. Their survey of the cocaine-dependent patients showed that more than half of the subjects met criteria for current alcohol dependence, and in more than 50% of the occasions both drugs had been used simultaneously.

The best way to protect yourself is to abstain from drinking while taking meth. Taking meth on its own is enough to cause serious consequences, including the possibility of death. Glial glutamate transporters in the striatum have been implicated in alcohol-METH interactions.

The sense of pleasure and euphoria increased in co-abuse of alcohol and cocaine and consequently elevated the risk of dependence and toxicity [105]. Alcohol and cocaine co-exposure increased extracellular DA concentration in the NAc, a region involved in the rewarding and reinforcing effects of drugs of abuse [106,107,108], compared to either drug administered alone in rats [109]. One recent study has demonstrated a significant interaction in prenatal co-exposure of cocaine and alcohol on cortical thickness in youths prenatally exposed to these drugs [110,111]. Overall, the current study modeled the often observed co-exposure to alcohol and Meth.

But, alcohol may inhibit METH metabolism, resulting in higher blood METH concentration, with an increase in its stimulating effects on brain and heart, resulting in significant negative effects on mood, performance, and physiological behaviors [120]. Co-exposure to alcohol and METH also resulted in (i) synergistic depletions of DAT, SERT, and DA and 5HT content, and (ii) increase in LPS and COX-2 in rats [118,121]. This suggests that prior alcohol drinking may also increase the inflammatory mediators, thus enhancing neurotoxicity. Co-abuse of alcohol with drugs of abuse (psychostimulants (cocaine, METH and nicotine) and inhibitors (opioids, cannabis and GHBA) and medications) is a serious health problem the society faces today.

After fentanyl, heroin and cocaine, meth is the fourth deadliest drug in America. The authors would like to thank Dr. Eric Engleman and Alena Sentir for their assistance in measuring blood ethanol concentrations. Methamphetamine concentrations were determined by the University of Utah alcohol use disorder and depressive disorders pmc Center for Human Toxicology. Male Sprague Dawley rats (250–300 g, Envigo, Indianapolis, IN) were allowed to acclimate to the animal colony at Indiana University for 4 days before the start of any experiments and had ad libitum access to food and water throughout the experiments.

Treatment can help you gain the tools you need to build and maintain your recovery from meth and alcohol addiction. GHB is a natural sedative with the potential to be used as a recreational drug [209,210]. Alcohol has been shown to enhance the sedative effect of GHB in humans and animals [212,213].

Meth alone depleted dopamine and serotonin in the striatum, as well as serotonin in the prefrontal cortex when measured 1 week later. Cyclooxygenase inhibition by ketoprofen during EtOH drinking blocked the increases in LPS and COX-2 and the enhanced decreases in dopamine and serotonin produced by Meth. Therefore, prior EtOH drinking causes an increase in inflammatory mediators that mediate a synergistic interaction with Meth to cause an enhanced neurotoxicity.

Prior exposure to voluntary EtOH drinking potentiated Meth-induced depletions of the monoamines and their transporters and suggests a synergistic relationship between the two drugs that enhances neurotoxicity. Furthermore, the depletions of DA and 5HT were dose-dependent such that higher amounts of EtOH consumption produced greater decreases in DA and 5HT content in the striatum and prefrontal cortex after Meth (Fig. 6). This relationship clearly supports the interactive and causative effects of EtOH consumption on Meth-induced neurotoxicity. Alcohol and methamphetamine (Meth) are often abused together and present a co-morbidity such that 77% of people diagnosed with amphetamine dependence also have an alcohol use disorder (Stinson et al. 2005). Similarly, within the population of Meth users, alcohol consumption increases the probability of Meth use by four-fold (Bujarski et al. 2014).

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