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Effects of Mixing Ketamine and Alcohol

The consumption of ketamine and alcohol mixtures (whether deliberately or inadvertently), is relatively common. This combination should genearlly be avoided.

Effects of alcohol on it’s own

In lower doses, alcohol produces effects of relaxedness, a sense of euphoria or giddiness, and it can lower your inhibitions.

In higher doses, alcohol can change your mood, make you more impulsive, slow or slur speech, cause loss of coordination, vomiting and loss of consciousness or gaps in memory, and even kill you.

How ketamine and alcohol interact with the brain?

Ketamine is catalogued as a dissociative analgesic, and alcohol is a depressant. They have the ability to interact with glutamate (the main excitatory neurotransmitter) and GABA (the main inhibitory neurotransmitter).

Alcohol also has the ability to enhance GABA’s receptors activity.

Ketamine and alcohol’s combined effect

Alcohol and ketamine’s combined interaction is complicated. Simply put, when combined, they have an even greater anesthetic effect.

It can become hard to move and talk, and cognitively is hard to process information or be aware of your surroundings.

Their combination is specially dangerous as they can slow down breathing. In high doses it can completely stop breathing.

Ketamine and alcohol have the ability to reduce glutamate activity.

Ketamine and alcohol in the US:

Ketamine was involved in 0.12% of the United States Emergency Department visits involving illicit drugs in 2011.

However, ketamine-related emergency department visits often involved other drugs, with 71.5% of ketamine-related visits in the United States in 2011 involving alcohol.

Studies with volunteers recruited at party scenes found that at least 65% of ketamine users also consume alcohol.

Ketamine and alcohol internationally:

Pavarin R.M. et al. (2019) found that alcohol was present in 25% of ketamine recreational misusers admitted to emergency care in Italy.

Darke et al. (2000-2019), found that ethanol (drinking alcohol) was present in over 27.3% of ketamine-related deaths in Australia.

Schifano F (1993-2006), found that alcohol was present in almost 50% of postmortem analyses of ketamine-related deaths in the UK.

Know the signs of trouble:

Keep an eye out for these symptoms, if someone is experiencing them call 911*:

  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Trouble breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Pale, clammy skin

*Canada and the US have adopted The Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act. Which protects you from being charged or convicted for drug possession if you call 911 to report an overdose.

Extra precautions:

  • Test your drugs!
  • Choose a safe setting
  • Don’t use alone
  • Know the risks

Ketamine Test Kits »