WHAT IS POLYSUBSTANCE ABUSE? The use of more than one drug, also known as polysubstance use, is common. This includes when two or more are taken together or within a short time period, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Intentional polysubstance use occurs when a person takes a drug to increase or decrease the effects of a different drug or wants to experience the effects of the combination.
Unintentional polysubstance use occurs when a person takes drugs that have been mixed or cut with other substances, like fentanyl, without their knowledge.
Whether intentional or not, mixing drugs is never safe because the effects from combining drugs may be stronger and more unpredictable than one drug alone, and even deadly.
DANGERS OF POLYSUBSTANCE ABUSE
Examples of stimulants: ecstasy (MDMA), cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines (speed)
Stimulants (also known as uppers) can increase your heart rate and blood pressure to dangerous levels and increase your risk of several serious health problems. Combining stimulants may even directly or indirectly increase your risk of:
Signs of use/overdose that may occur when mixing stimulants:
Examples of depressants: opioids (heroin, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl), benzodiazepines
Depressants (also known as downers) can slow down your breathing and increase your risk of several adverse health outcomes. Combining depressants can also directly or indirectly increase your risk of:
Signs of use/overdose when mixing depressants:
Drinking alcohol while using other drugs
Drinking alcohol while using other drugs isn’t safe. Alcohol is a depressant with similar effects to other downers. Mixing alcohol with other drugs can increase your risk of overdose and serious damage to the brain, heart, and other organs.