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 Weed

    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

  • 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

  • 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

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.

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.