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Mixing drugs

Mixing drugs can increase their effects dramatically, or produce different and unpredictable reactions.

We often mix drugs without thinking about it – you might have vodka with a Red Bull, or you might do a bump of mephedrone, sniff poppers on the dancefloor, then use Viagra later on in the night.

Even if you think you’re only taking one drug, they can often be cut with other substances, especially powdered drugs or pills.

If you’re taking drugs and HIV medication at the same time, be aware that there can be some dangerous interactions.

‘Drug cocktails’

Taking more than one drug puts extra stress on the body – especially the heart, brain and liver. Sometimes these ‘drug cocktails’ can result in an overdose or death. The crash or comedown can be nastier too.

Taking two drugs that have the same effect increases the risks of a dangerous reaction. For example, two depressants (eg, G taken with alcohol or ketamine) can make you unconscious; two stimulants can put real pressure on your heart or circulation.

But your body also gets stressed if you take drugs that have opposite effects: one drug is telling it to slow down, the other is making it speed up.

Drugs tend to be grouped according to the effect they have on the body. It’s important to understand which category a drug is in, because when you mix them, taking two of the same kind can be especially risky.

Depressants (‘downers’)

These slow down your body’s functions and make you feel more relaxed. Your heart and breathing will slow down and you might feel very sleepy.

Examples include:

Taking downers together risks overly slowing down body functions such as breathing and brain function to life-threatening levels. You can end up knocked out or dead.

Mixing alcohol and G is a particularly risky combination.

Never mix alcohol with sleeping pills and tranquilisers as this could prove fatal.

Stimulants (‘uppers’)

These speed up your body’s functions. You will feel more alert, your heart will beat faster, your blood pressure will go up, you might feel jumpy, grind your teeth and afterwards you may feel ‘down’.

Some of the most popular uppers are:

The more stimulants you take, the greater the pressure on your heart and circulation, which puts you at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Using cocaine and amphetamines together will put your heart under excessive stress.

Mixing uppers with alcohol increases the risk of heart failure.

You should never mix crystal meth, Viagra and poppers in any combination – always take these separately.

Next: Prepare and repair ››

‹‹ Previous: Overdosing

Published: 30/08/2018
Next review: 30/08/2021