Taking multiple drugs together can be extremely risky. Mixing different highs might seem tempting, but it can have severe consequences, including life-threatening effects and an increased likelihood of addiction. Prescription medications always advise against combining them with other substances. However, illegal drugs don’t come with guidelines, and some individuals may believe it’s safe to experiment with different substances. It’s crucial to steer clear of dangerous drug combinations to protect your health.
People have been mixing drugs for a long time to achieve specific effects. Sometimes, they combine different substances to balance their effects. For example, some people may combine fentanyl pills (a depressant) with cocaine (a stimulant) to balance their alertness and drowsiness.
Knowing the risks of combining drugs is essential to prevent serious complications. Here are a few common drug combinations to be aware of:
- Alcohol and marijuana
- Alcohol and cocaine
- Alcohol and benzodiazepines
- Cocaine and opioids
Now, let’s examine each of these combinations and their effects on the body.
1. Alcohol and Marijuana
A widely recognized drug combination is marijuana and alcohol. This pairing is popular for various reasons. Firstly, they belong to different drug categories. Alcohol is a depressant that relaxes and reduces anxiety, while marijuana is often classified as a hallucinogen, although its effects are milder compared to substances like LSD.
Using marijuana in the short term can lead to changes in perception, increased happiness, and heightened appetite. While alcohol primarily affects the central nervous system, marijuana primarily affects the brain. When used together, they can produce a “cross-faded” effect, which carries various risks and dangers. Some of these risks include:
- lowered motor control and mental concentration
2. Alcohol and Cocaine
Cocaine is widely used as a party drug due to its stimulating effects, including increased energy, alertness, and confidence. It is common for people to combine alcohol, which causes drowsiness, with cocaine to counteract its effects. Some believe that using cocaine can prevent blackouts, while others use alcohol to help them fall asleep after excessive cocaine use. Although this may seem logical to some, combining these drugs poses significant risks.
Here are some risks involved:
- The body can produce cocaethylene, which may raise the risk of heart problems.
- irregular heartbeat
- stomach pain
3. Alcohol and Benzodiazepines
Although not as widely used as other combinations mentioned earlier, mixing alcohol and benzodiazepines is a common practice. Benzodiazepines were popular in the 1960s and 1970s for recreational and medicinal purposes. However, due to their rapid tolerance development, they have been replaced by safer alternatives.
Both of these drugs belong to the “downer” category. They act on the central nervous system and can reduce anxiety and induce drowsiness. Unlike the previous combinations that were used to counterbalance each other, this combination amplifies their effects, resulting in potentially harmful side effects.
Some of these side effects are:
- periods of memory loss
- slurred speech
4. Cocaine and Opioids
This combination of drugs has been used for a long time. While they have distinct effects on the body, when taken together, they can amplify the desired effects. However, this pairing is extremely risky and has resulted in numerous overdoses and fatalities.
Between 2014 and 2020, the National Institute on Drug Abuse recorded a significant increase in cocaine-related overdose deaths, reaching 19,477 fatalities in 2020 from 5,914 in 2014. Many of these deaths resulted from combining cocaine with opioids, a combination referred to as a “speedball.”
Here are some risks associated with this combination:
Addiction Treatment Help
There are treatments available for individuals with substance abuse problems. These treatments include approved medications and counseling. Seeking treatment is a highly effective approach to achieving recovery.