Drug use, characteristics and consequences

Drug use, characteristics and consequences

The drug consumption is based on the consumption of more than one substance at a time. The combination of several drugs It usually intensifies the effects of each of the drugs consumed being a very dangerous practice. Sometimes, the combination of certain substances is done with little sense, since many people are not truly aware of the danger this entails. When we talk about drug use, we not only refer to the consumption of illegal substances, these can also be prescription drugs that if combined with others can cause very harmful effects, the worst consequence being the poisoning death. Combining substances can increase certain pleasures but multiply the harmful effects.

Other negative effects that can occur due to polyconsumption can be brain damage, loss of consciousness, coma, heart problems, seizures, liver problems or respiratory failure, among others.


  • 1 Mixtures of most common substances
  • 2 Alcohol and other drugs
  • 3 Polyconsumption among teenagers
  • 4 Death by overdose and polyconsumption

Mixtures of most common substances

Drugs and substances that are usually combined more commonly are usually alcohol and other drugs, as well as cocaine and prescribed medications.

Alcohol and other drugs

Some reports have revealed that a large majority of hospital admissions for substance use also involved alcohol consumption. The most commonly used drugs mixed with alcohol are usually:

  • Cocaine and alcohol: These two substances are usually consumed together to alleviate the anxious effects of cocaine and giving rise to a very toxic substance created through the union of the two calls cocaethylene. Cocaethylene causes euphoria due to the elevation of endorphin levels and reward levels in a way that cocaine alone achieves. However, cocaethylene is very toxic for weakening heart muscles, causing an increased risk of arrhythmias and sudden death.
  • Heroin and alcohol: Being two central nervous system depressants, their combination can lead to respiratory failure and a lack of cerebral oxygen. This can cause permanent brain damage.
  • Prescribed medications With a prescription such as Ritalin or Adderall and alcohol, they produce a cocaine-like effect by increasing heart rate and causing heart problems.
  • Anxiolytics and alcohol: The combination of the two elements enhances the feeling of relaxation, although later anxiety usually multiplies, also produces a greater impact of intoxication in the brain, so this is a dangerous mixture.
  • Sedatives and sleeping pills with alcohol: The sedative effects of this mixture are very high, increasing the risk of coma and in fatal cases, death.
  • Pain relievers and alcohol: There is a great risk mixing these two substances that can cause stomach bleeding and liver damage, as well as lower blood pressure and depress the respiratory system.

Other very common mixtures among polytoxicomaniacs are:

  • Heroin and Cocaine: The effects of these two dangerous substances are opposite (depressive / stimulant) and are often used to cancel the effects of both. This produces a false sense of control that can lead to overdose more likely, in addition to the physical damage they cause.
  • Ecstasy and cocaine: These two stimulants produce a higher heart rate and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
  • Various prescription medications: The mixture of prescriptions in people who self-medicate without medical opinion can cause a great danger of poisoning.

Polyconsumption among teenagers

Unfortunately, teenagers are one of the most likely social groups to combine more than one drug at a time. Maybe for lack of information or experience, it seems that awareness of these types of acts is not very established. According to some studies on the subject, it seems that 7 out of 10 young drug users used to combine different substances, usually with alcohol. Due to the young age, in which the nervous system is still in full development, the risk of falling into addiction or suffering from overdose is much higher in these cases, so it is very important to prevent and treat this type of behavior in adolescents.

Death by overdose and polyconsumption

Overdose death occurs when a high amount of drug reaches high levels in the blood of the affected. Almost half of overdose deaths are caused by the use of more than one drug. A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States found that most people who had serious addictions used more than one substance regularly. The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted an analysis to describe deaths related to drug overdoses in Pennsylvania, concluding that more than 60% of deaths due to overdose had a combination of opioids Y benzodiazepines Commonly.

This chart shows a percentage of overdose deaths related to the use of more than one drug at a time.

At the foot of each bar you can see a different type of drug that has caused the death by overdose of a specific number of people. In each of the bars, other drugs are shown that according to the analysis seem to have been combined with the first ones at the time of death. For example, the first bar refers to "cocaine" and in this we can see other drugs that have been combined with this substance in deceased people:

  • Alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax, was found in 67 cases
  • Clonazepam, was also mixed with cocaine in 44 cases
  • Diazepam, like Valium, was found in 30 cases
  • Fentanyl was found in 52 cases
  • Heroin combined with cocaine was found in 231 cases, the highest percentage being
  • Methadone was found in 25 cases
  • Oxycodone was pulled in 37 cases

Drug use is a very dangerous practice that can cause terrible consequences. If you or someone you know has a problem with addictions to certain substances, do not hesitate to consult a professional and seek help to find the way to recovery. Fortunately, many physical effects can be reversed over time by leaving such habits and leading a healthy and pleasant life.

Links of interest

Multiple Drug Abuse. It's Birkenshaw. //

What Is Polydrug Use? //

Polysubstance Use and Abuse: The Unique Treatment Needs of Polydrug Users. //