Dangerous Drug Combos

When people abuse dangerous drugs, they are compelled to think and behave in ways they would otherwise not. Sometimes, this can mean engaging in drunk driving or promiscuous sexual activity; sometimes, it can mean taking multiple drugs, doing anything they can to make the artificial sensations of pleasure and wellbeing last. But chasing poison with even more poison creates unimaginable risks. The perils of dangerous drug combinations don’t stop at merely deepening an addiction.

Dangerous Drug Combos: What and Why?

Of the many dangers caused by combining dangerous drugs, the unpredictability of what might happen is a huge concern. This is because different people react to different drugs in different ways; a person’s family history, medical history, age, gender, living situation, etc. can all come together to produce a reaction to a drug that is unique. Adding another drug to that mix – either simultaneously or when the first drug is still present in the body – can push a user too far in one direction (if both drugs are stimulants, for example), or can give a user brief sensations of each, before causing a breakdown as the body and brain are pulled in two opposite directions.[1]

What drives someone to take multiple drugs at a time? The answer lies in why certain drugs compel people to do risky things. Dissociative drugs, for example, cause users to feel disconnected from the world around them. This means that those who take a drug like PCP can experience hallucinations that make spatial and chronological senses distorted. They may feel that time slows to a crawl, and that their immediate world around them is massive and vast. Some users feel as though they are physically invulnerable, that nothing can hurt them; and while in this state, they may feel emboldened to do risky things, like drive while under the influence, seek out strangers as sexual partners, or try another drug while still on the effects of the dissociative drug.[2]

Sometimes, this manifests in what is called polydrug use, where two or more drugs are taken at the same time in order to achieve a particularly desired effect. An example of this occurs among users of drugs who are involved with specific social situations, such as at a nightclub, a party, dance venues, or (music) festivals. Methamphetamines tend to be used with ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol, depending on the setting and the individual. In some cases, users seek out precise drug combinations; in others, it is simply a case of supply and demand. Australia’s Department of Health writes that the greater the degree a person is under the influence of a drug, the higher the chance that the person will use multiple drugs to enhance and prolong the intoxicated state.[3]


Ecstasy and Other Drugs

alcohol and mdma

Ecstasy, mentioned above, is one of the most popular choices of drug among people who go to nightclubs and dance parties. Its full name is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA for short. In 2006, the Journal of Psychopharmacology published a report on what it called “the confounding problem” of polydrug abuse among people who use MDMA, and who take alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and methamphetamine at the same time. According to the journal, these are the most common drug combinations among MDMA users. However, MDMA is neurotoxic, meaning it is a substance that diminishes, damages, or outright destroys the tissues of the body’s central nervous system, causing seizures and even death.[4]

Adding to the danger is that methamphetamine and cocaine are both stimulants and by nature are neurotoxic themselves. The Journal of Psychopharmacology warns that taking meth and/or cocaine with MDMA may enhance long-term damage.

Australia’s Department of Health writes of a study that found 71 percent of people who regularly used MDMA and drank were also using methamphetamine, concluding that it was “highly likely” that excessive alcohol consumption took place with methamphetamines.