I came across this reminder that drug combinations are almost always more lethal than single drugs alone. (Actually I had been corresponding with the author of this article before he published this in the paper/on the Internet. He had picked up on my blog as a source of information after a recent death involving a sorority “sister”)
The combination ingestion (by different routes but at the same time) of alcohol and cocaine is more lethal that either alone, at least in part because of the metabolite formed in the body (there may also be an effect on metabolic pathways seperate from the formation of this metabolite).
Research into the lethality of cocaethylene use compared to cocaine use alone is young, but anecdotal experiments have pointed towards an increase in mortality rates from a combination of cocaine and alcohol consumption. One of these, a 1999 study of drugged rats by the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, found cocaethylene 46 percent more lethal than the control group of cocaine use alone. Additionally, a study appearing in the July 1997 issue of the Journal of Addictive Diseases stated that cocaethylene has been associated with seizures, liver damage and compromised functioning of the immune system and found an 18 to 25 fold increase in risk for immediate death over cocaine use alone