The Dangers of Mixing Prescriptions and Alcohol

You may have taught your teens the risks of drinking alcohol, and you may have also taught your teens about the risks associated with prescription drugs. But your teen may not understand the significant dangers associated with mixing prescription drugs with alcohol.

One study suggests that 42% of Americans have mixed alcohol with prescription drugs at some point, in spite of its harmful effects and warnings on prescription labels. With that high statistic in mind, here’s what you need to know and educate your teen on about mixing these substances.

What You Need To Know

Teen Prescription Drug Use

Image Credit: TheDigitalWay

Many prescription drugs such as (but not limited to) heart medications, cold and flu medications, prescriptions for anxiety or depression, high blood pressure medication and antibiotics for infections advise against mixing with alcohol.

The reason for this is because most prescription drugs carry dangerous side effects when mixed with alcoholic substances. Even in small amounts, the regular side effects of both alcohol and the prescription drug can even be exacerbated when they’re taken together. Some of these side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Increased risk of seizures
  • Slowed or difficult breathing
  • Changes in mood or mental health
  • Rapid heartbeat or changes in blood pressure
  • Liver damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Impaired judgement
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Educating Your Teen

As you now understand the side effects associated with mixing prescription drugs and alcohol, it’s important to educate your teen on these risks to help them make smart, safe decisions around drug use. It may not be an easy conversation, but it’s an important one to have so that your teen has all the information they need to stay safe.

Next, it’s important that you set clear and concrete boundaries and consequences for your teen so that they understand your expectations surrounding prescription drug use and alcohol. Try to remember to explain why these boundaries are being set too.

Keep the Conversation Open

Take some time to listen to what your teen has to say about drugs and alcohol. In other words, don’t assume they are ready to fight against you. Instead, start by respecting what they already know and where they stand.

Above all else, don’t forget to keep the keep conversation about prescription drugs and alcohol open. This isn’t a one time thing—if your teen has questions or wants to revisit the topic, aim to make yourself available to listen and respond without judgement. Help your teen understand that, at the end of the day, you care about their safety and that you want them to be well-informed to safely address risks like mixing prescription drug use and alcohol.

Feature Image: MikeBirdy