Mixing drugs is a common activity among people who suffer from addiction. When tolerance for a drug increases, it becomes harder and harder to achieve the desired effects; adding another substance to the mix becomes a way to get the sought-after high. With this knowledge in mind, it’s no surprise that nearly half of addiction-treatment clients have been found to suffer an addiction to more than one substance .
Experimenting with drug cocktails can cause serious health effects, and some combinations can even be deadly. Let’s take a closer look at certain drug combinations and discuss the risks of these mixtures.
Cocaine and Alcohol
One of the most dangerous drug combinations is cocaine and alcohol. Cocaine is a stimulant—it makes you feel happy, energetic and alert. Its stimulant properties also raise your blood pressure and speed up your heart rate. Mixing cocaine with alcohol can have dangerous health effects, speeding up your heart rate to the point of heart attack or heart failure.
The negative effects of cocaine and alcohol are caused by the production of cocaethylene, a chemical that forms in the liver when this specific drug combination is present in the body. Not only does cocaethylene raise the risk of drug-related heart problems, but it can also cause aggressive, even violent behavior.
Nicotine and Alcohol
Cigarettes and alcohol have always seemed to go hand-in-hand. People tend to crave alcohol more when they smoke, and they crave nicotine more when they drink. Certain chemical reactions in the body are responsible for this phenomenon.
The nicotine in cigarettes boosts levels of stress hormones in the body. These hormones stifle the brain’s response to alcohol, which means more alcohol is necessary to achieve the usual effects. This excess consumption of alcohol can lead to damaging effects on organs, especially the heart and liver.
Not all drug combinations are deadly, but mixing certain substances can have dangerous consequences. Thousands of lives are lost each year from accidental drug overdoses, and some of these casualties involve famous names.
Former Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland managed to overcome heroin addiction, a problem that plagued the grunge scene during the 1990s; however, mixing cocaine, alcohol and ecstasy led to his death in December 2015. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment in early 2014 after mixing a number of substances, including cocaine, heroin and prescription drugs. Miley Cyrus has allegedly had her own battles with substance abuse as well.
When you’re deep in the throes of drug addiction, a single drug may not provide the high you want; it might take two or more substances to produce the desired effects. Certain drug combinations can be dangerous and even deadly, but that doesn’t stop millions of people from experimenting with mixing substances.