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Top 4 Most Dangerous Drug Combinations
The Risks of Mixing Multiple Drugs
News reports often talk about overdose deaths associated with opioids or binge drinking, but they don’t often highlight the issue of drug mixing. For example, when examining opioid deaths in the U.S., you’ll find that more than 70% involved an opioid and another drug or alcohol. On their own drugs and alcohol can be dangerous, but when taken together, the dangers compound even more dramatically. Not to minimize the effects of a single acute use of drugs or alcohol (because there is plenty of statistical proof of the dangers), but drug combinations increase the risk for overdose and death. Learn about the most dangerous drug combinations below.
Heroin and Fentanyl (or Heroin Plus Any Other Opioid)
There are times when it is medically warranted to combine narcotics in the treatment of a patient, but doctors prescribe medication combinations to treat a legitimate medical condition such as acute pain in association with a trauma or surgery, and they base their treatment on years of experience and study. Even so, they are well aware of the dangers and monitor these patients accordingly. To combine drugs on one’s own for the purpose of getting high is akin to playing Russian Roulette with one’s life.
Combination heroin deaths, as mentioned, encompass half of opioid overdose deaths. Combinations like heroin and fentanyl are immensely deadly as both drugs target the same area of the brain that is associated with the respiratory system – breathing. Without enough oxygen getting into the bloodstream, the brain begins to shut down vital bodily systems, a domino effect that all-too-frequently leads to death.
Methamphetamine and Ecstasy
Although drug mixing can occur in any setting, it often occurs in clubs, bars, house parties, and even on or near college campuses. Ecstasy has a reputation as a dangerous club drug. Increasingly, young people have begun using it in combination with methamphetamine, a highly addictive and dangerous drug. The most imminent threat from this combination has to do with how the drugs impact the body. Ecstasy increases the body’s temperature, putting stress on various systems. Meth increases the heart rate, putting the heart at risk. When both drugs ‘attack’ integral bodily systems, the result can transform a fun situation into a health emergency within moments. And, when this combination also involves alcohol, the risks increase threefold.
Alcohol and Sleeping Pills
Hollywood seems filled with sad tales of stars who have died as a result of mixing sleeping pills and alcohol. It could be the pressure of travel, long hours on set, or the dark side of fame that have led many beloved stars like Marilyn Monroe and Heath Ledger to turn to alcohol and sleeping pills. However, many everyday people also turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with physical and psychological stressors. The particular danger of the sleeping pill-alcohol combination is that both substances ‘depress’ aspects of the brain and body. This combination turns deadly when it causes too great of a slowdown to essential mental and physical systems.
Cocaine and Heroin
Playing pharmacist with one’s health is never recommended – even with over-the-counter medications. So, when individuals mix cocaine and heroin in an effort to temper the effects of both drugs, they are actually engaging in a high-risk situation that puts them at increased risk for a life-threatening health emergency. The logic fueling this combination is that heroin, a depressant, and cocaine, a stimulant, will have a canceling-out effect of drug effects. For instance, many heroin users who have experimented with this combo take the cocaine because they expect it to reduce the depressant effect of the opioid, falsely believing it could stave off an overdose. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Too often, one drug masks the effects of the other, leading to accidental overdose. Moreover, the heroin actually causes the cocaine’s effects to last longer, putting more stress on the heart.
Getting Help for Addiction
It’s never safe to mix drugs without the express consent of a physician – and even then, there are risks. Mixing alcohol and prescription drugs or illicit drugs is statistically deadly; mixing drugs is also just as deadly. If you have abused drugs and alcohol on their own or in combination, don’t wait to get help. JC’s Recovery Center specializes in addiction treatment and can help you begin the path toward recovery. At JC’s Recovery Center, we truly care about your health and well-being.
Our faith-based programs are designed with evidence-based treatments and are always delivered by a team of caring, competent, and devoted addiction specialists. Call or visit us to learn more about our program offerings.