Why Is it Common for Someone to Abuse More than One Drug?

Why Is it Common for Someone to Abuse More than One Drug?

Mixing drugs together is a common occurrence, especially among recreational users and abusers

Drug users take multiple drugs for many reasons, mostly to intensify or lengthen the feeling of being high. When a person is a polydrug user, his addiction is more severe and requires more specialized treatment to live successfully in recovery.

Mixing drugs together, especially on the club scene, is a common occurrence among recreational users and abusers. Club parties or concerts are a main source for drug mixing as people try to increase euphoric feelings by using multiple substances, such as LSD and marijuana. Abusing more than one drug at a time is typically done in an effort to increase a high or decrease the negative side effects of a high. In other cases, people mix drugs unintentionally, such as when a person consumes alcohol while she is on prescription drugs.[1]

Reasons Behind Common Drug Combinations

Many common drug mixtures create varying effects depending on the dose consumed and even on the particular person consuming the mixture. Some of the most common drug combinations and reasons behind mixing the two include the following:

  • A speedball is the common name for a mixture of cocaine and heroin. People typically mix the two substances together in one syringe and inject it straight into their bloodstream. Some people use two syringes with the two different substances and inject them simultaneously. People mix these two drugs in an attempt to increase the rush of euphoria and decrease some of the negative side effects that the drugs produce alone,such as anxiety or depression.
  • Some drug mixtures are used in a specific sequence in order to produce an intentional effect. Marijuana is often smoked after abusing cocaine or ecstasy in an attempt to ease the rapid descent from the high.
  • Alcohol is one of the most commonly mixed substances, because in many cases people do not consider it to be dangerous. However, when alcohol is mixed with harder drugs it can lead to serious consequences. Marijuana is often combined with alcohol in order to increase the relaxation effect. Because both substances are depressants, this combination can lead to slowed breathing and heart rate. If the breathing and heart rate becomes depressed enough a person can lose consciousness, slip into a coma and potentially die.
  • In some cases people who abuse multiple substances do not think about the potential results of the combinations; they just take whatever they have. This is most apparent at drug parties where people take whatever is provided without thinking about the effects or consequences of the combinations.[2]

When people do mix multiple drugs, the effects on the body are less well known. Treating an addiction to multiple substances, such as an addiction to cocaine and heroin, requires more intensive treatments. These treatments should include psychological counseling that includes screening for psychiatric disorders as well as medication-assisted treatments to ease any withdrawal symptoms.[3]

Using Multiple Drugs along with LSD

LSD is a common party drug that produces bizarre psychedelic trips and gives people an alternate sense of reality. People who plan to trip on LSD commonly smoke marijuana before, during and after LSD consumption in an attempt to significantly increase LSD’s effect.Abusing more than one substance leads to simultaneous physical dependencies and multiple addictions. When a person becomes addicted to multiple substances, he experiences withdrawal symptoms even if he only stops taking one of the substances. Combining drugs is dangerous and leads to serious health consequences, including an increased risk of contracting blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. Receiving professional treatment is essential to overcoming drug abuse and addiction.1

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[1]Grov, C., Kelly, B. C., & Parsons, J. T. (2009). Polydrug use among club-going young adults recruited through time-space sampling. Substance Use & Misuse. Retrieved July 5, 2016 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2683356/

[2] U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. (2015). Drugs of Abuse. Retrieved July 5, 2016 from https://www.dea.gov/pr/multimedia-library/publications/drug_of_abuse.pdf.

[3] Martin, Kimberly. (2002). Combining Medications May Be Effective Treatment for “Speedball” Abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse Notes. Retrieved July 5, 2016 from http://archives.drugabuse.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVol17N3/Combining.html.