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The Dangers of Mixing Drugs

Many people in active addiction do not use only one substance. Often, men and women in addiction will mix together different substances, leading to dangerous consequences. Mixing different drugs, or combining drugs with alcohol, can lead to unexpected and often fatal interactions.

Drug interactions can magnify the intensity and possibility of overdose. The Government of South Australia’s SA Health, explains, “Mixing any combination of prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, illicit drugs and alcohol can be unpredictable and dangerous. Most fatal overdoses involve use of more than one type of drug (poly-drug use). Poly-drug use is dangerous because different drugs act on our bodies in different ways to cause sedation. The harmful effects are magnified by using more than one drug type. For example, the more alcohol in the body, the less heroin needed to cause an overdose.” Two sedatives, such as alcohol and opiates, for example, will not simply double the sedative effect. Rather, they can potentiate the effects of each other and lead to overdose quickly.

The most common form of mixing drugs, known as “polysubstance abuse,” is the combination of alcohol and medications. Healthline explains, “First, mixing alcohol with some medicines can lead to excessive sleepiness, drunkenness, or difficulty walking. Less common but more severe interactions can cause toxicity, even death. Mixing alcohol and medication can also make the drug’s effects stronger or weaker, or the medicine may not work at all when it’s mixed with booze. These interactions can occur with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medicines, as well as supplements and herbal treatments.” Dr. David Culter, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, explains to Healthine, “The lethal interaction between alcohol and either prescription or OTC drugs generally involves suppression of breathing. This can happen even with common over-the-counter drugs that are marketed as cold pills, such as Benadryl, and all the way to controlled substance medications used to induce sleep, or to treat depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders. Basically, any medication which can make you sleepy can have a deadly interaction with alcohol.”

Combining drugs often can lead to the development of simultaneous addictions and make recovery more difficult. Rather than focusing on one substance, treatment must be more comprehensive to include all other addictions. This can also make withdrawal symptoms more severe, as one faces a combination of symptoms from each drug to which they have developed physical dependence.

Your life doesn’t have to be controlled by addiction and alcoholism. No matter how difficult your addiction may seem, recovery is possible. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, is staffed with the highest quality behavioral health and addiction specialists, spiritual guides, and holistic experts to help you develop all the tools necessary to live a fulfilling life in sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431