If you are mixing drugs — whether it’s intentional or unintentional — learn how your risk of health complications, overdose, and death significantly increase. 

When people are using more than drug at a time, it is referred to as polysubstance use. According to the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over half of all alcohol-related emergency room visits in 2011 involved illicit and prescription drugs.

People combine different substances for different reasons, but the most common reason is that they want to amplify the effects of individual drugs. Some people may unintentionally combine drugs like prescription drugs and alcohol or marijuana.

Commonly Mixed Drugs

  • Alcohol and Marijuana Two of the substances people most regularly use are alcohol and weed, but what about if they’re used together? People…Learn More
  • Alcohol and Ecstasy Adverse reactions and side effects can occur when certain drugs are mixed with alcohol. One drug that is sometimes mixed with…Learn More
  • Alcohol and Cocaine Alcohol is often an accessory to illicit substances like cocaine. Both alcohol and cocaine can bring forth changes in behavior, mood, and mindset that…Learn More
  • Alcohol and Adderall Because Adderall is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, the two essentially compete for control in the body. This can result in…Learn More
  • Alcohol and Valium Valium is one of the many drugs that is combined with alcohol for various reasons. Although those who mix Valium…Learn More
  • Alcohol and Codeine When using a narcotic like codeine, it’s important to follow all warning labels and guidelines outlined by your doctor. This…Learn More
  • Alcohol and LSD LSD use can have unpredictable and even deadly consequences, particularly when consumed with alcohol and other drugs. If you or…Learn More
  • Amphetamines and Benzodiazepines Amphetamines and benzodiazepines are both addictive on their own, but what happens what the two types of drugs are used…Learn More
  • Heroin and Fentanyl Along with both being opioids and having similar effects, heroin and fentanyl have other relationships. Namely, heroin mixed with fentanyl…Learn More
  • Xanax and Molly Combining Xanax and Molly is not recommended and could lead to overdose or addiction to one or both substances.Learn More
  • Xanax and Valium A few situations exist where a doctor might prescribe the two together, but it is uncommon.Learn More

Risks Associated with Mixing Drugs

The risk of potentially dangerous side effects of polysubstance use depends on the amount and type of drugs being mixed. The most significant risk associated with polysubstance use is “combined drug intoxication.”

Common Risks with Mixing Drugs
  • Brain damage
  • Coma
  • Heart problems
  • Seizures
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Liver damage
  • Liver failure
  • Suppressed breathing
  • Respiratory failure

Assessing Your Risk of Addiction

Although they cannot serve as an official diagnosis, these self-assessments can help you evaluate your prescription or illicit substance use (not including alcohol) and better understand your risk of addiction so you can find treatment if necessary.

Substance Abuse Assessments & Quizzes

Online quizzes that can help you assess a loved one or your risk of addiction.

Finding Treatment for Substance Abuse

Polysubstance use is more likely to result in overdose and death, so if you or someone you know struggles with an addiction to one or more substance, help is available. Getting treatment for substance use and co-occurring disorders is the most effective approach to address drug addiction and avoid overdosing.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more

McCabe. “Co-ingestion of Prescription Opioids and[…]tional Study.” Drug Alcohol Depend., May 18, 2012. Accessed May 16, 2019.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: Nation[…]tment Visits.” May 2013. Accessed May 16, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.