Ultimately, mixing drugs will result in serious health consequences. But, some are far more dangerous than others.
Here are a few of those combinations and their effects:
Stimulants increase activity in the central nervous system which controls all activities of the body. Combining different stimulants can cause heart problems, psychosis, and increased anxiety or paranoia. Some of the most commonly abused stimulants include cocaine, caffeine, meth, and ADHD meds. Also, some drugs that produce stimulant type effects include entactogens such as MDMA (ecstasy). Another effect of combining stimulants is known as serotonin syndrome. This effect occurs because the brain becomes overloaded with serotonin causing increased life-threatening risk of coma and seizures.
Depressants decrease the level of activity in the central nervous system. These drugs slow the heart rate and breathing rate and can quickly cause an overdose. Not all overdoses end in death. Non-fatal overdose can leave life-altering damages, however. Drugs that are considered depressants include alcohol, heroin, ketamine, GHB, opioids, and benzodiazepines.
Stimulants and Depressants Combined
Combining “uppers” and “downers” is dangerous behavior. For instance, mixing meth and alcohol puts an increased strain on the heart, leading to severe complications. Mixing cocaine and alcohol causes a toxic chemical known as cocaethylene and can have fatal consequences. Combining cannabis and tobacco increases the exposure to tar and carbon monoxide, increase the chance of lung infections, bronchitis, and cancer.
Serious adverse reactions can occur when using prescription medicines with other drugs. For instance, using sedative medications with alcohol can result in overdose. Using stimulant medications with other stimulants can increase anxiety and panic attacks, psychosis, and heart problems.
Sometimes these trends in polydrug abuse are influenced by the availability or cost of a specific substance. Also, legislative changes can result in people switching drugs or trying different combinations because the changed compound brings different effects for the user. In many cases, a person is merely looking for a more intense high. In other cases, a person purchases a deadly polydrug without realizing it, such as heroin laced with fentanyl. No matter the reason, combining drugs is a growing trend across the nation today, and many lives are being destroyed or ended as a result.