Drugs are generally classified as belonging to one of three groups – depressants, stimulants and hallucinogens. (See our article: The Three Main Categories of Drugs). Mixing drugs is never a good idea, for a multitude of reasons:
- Taking two types of similar drugs can be dangerous, increasing the negative risks associated with both.For example, it is not a good idea to mix two depressants like alcohol and heroin.
- Taking two drugs together can make one drug more dangerous than usual.
- The risk of overdose is heightened when you take two drugs together. One drugs effects might cause you to take a higher than usual dose of another drug to feel it’s effects.
Depressants affect the central nervous system so that messages between the brain and the body are slowed. This can make you feel relaxed but your breathing and heart rate are also reduced which can be fatal. Using two of the types of drug together can increase the risk of overdose as they both drugs are acting in a similar way on your body. Alcohol, heroin and tranquilisers are all depressant drugs.
Taking a stimulant drug and then quickly taking another, because the effects of the first drug were not kicking in quick enough, can be very dangerous. Strain on the heart and the potential for overdose are just two of the risks that such actions carry. Fatal overdoses are not uncommon. Typical stimulant drugs are Amphetamines and Cocaine.
Mixing stimulants and alcohol
Drinking alcohol at the same time as taking stimulants can be very dangerous, increasing the pressure on the heart and the potential for heart failure.
Mixing cocaine and alcohol
Taking alcohol and cocaine at the same time can result in the production of a poisonous substance called cocaethylene, which is formed in the liver when the two drugs meet. Cocaine is a stimulant drug and taking it at the same time as a depressant like alcohol could hide some of its effects, meaning that the potential for overdose is higher as you need to take more cocaine to get high.
Mixing ecstasy and cannabis
Cannabis is taken by some to smooth out an ecstasy trip. However, this combination could end up making you feel anxious and paranoid rather than calming you down.
Mixing heroin and cocaine use
A speedball is when cocaine and heroin are taken together. This can be a fatal combination as using the two drugs together put excessive strain on the body and this pressure, especially when the drugs are injected, could prove fatal.
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