Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
University police have concerns about students mixing alcohol and prescription drugs on the Ole Miss campus. According to Officer Jeff Kellum, not only is it dangerous, but it’s more common than illegal drug use.
“If you had to pick one or the other, it’s really the mixing of the drugs and alcohol that’s more frequent,” said Kellum. “When you mix alcohol and drugs, it almost always becomes a problem for other people. It’s an unsafe act. With unpredictable results and outcomes, it’s a dangerous situation.”
One of the dangers is that it’s possible to mix stimulants and depressants, also known as mixing “uppers and downers,” which can have unknown consequences, some of which can be severe.
Barbara Collier, the director of the V.B. Harrison Student Health Center, believes that much of the danger lies in the fact that prescription drugs are given based on a patient’s medical history.
“It’s dangerous to take medicines that aren’t prescribed for you, as there’s all types of processes that go into the question of ‘is this appropriate for you?’” she said. “It’s inherent that any time you mix alcohol with prescription drugs, especially if they are controlled or sedative, it’s dangerous.”
The most serious side effects can come from mixing another depressant with alcohol. In an interview with Dr. Christopher McCurdy, an associate professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology at Ole Miss, he mentions some of the possible consequences of combining the two.
“Most prescription drugs that are mixed with alcohol are depressants and, when combined, exaggerate the effects of both depressants on the central nervous system,” he said. “This can lead to poor coordination and judgement at first but can develop into more severe depression where breathing becomes compromised. Most people mix drugs and alcohol to increase the effect from each substance without care for the danger that is created.”
“There is a fine line between the desired euphoria and the potential toxicity,” said McCurdy.
Kellum says the bottom line is this type of problem is hard to handle.
“We can’t protect you from yourself.”