According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, approximately 80 percent of people using heroin reported they misused prescription opioids first. This statistic suggests that the majority of people who use heroin are familiar with switching and mixing drugs. Another study suggests that people who have a heroin addiction combine heroin with other substances to increase the effects of the drug. Researchers also suggest that people with heroin addictions mix drugs to lessen some of the severe side effects of heroin use.

Using heroin alone is dangerous but when combined with other substances the risks of an overdose increases. Mixing heroin with other substances increases the risk of an overdose because:

  • The body has to process more than one drug
  • People who mix substances with heroin typically inject heroin rather than administer it in another way. Injecting heroin causes the heroin to enter directly into the bloodstream, which increases the chance of overdosing.
  • Mixing heroin with a stimulant, like cocaine, causes the body to use more oxygen while a depressant, like heroin, reduces the breathing rate.

Heroin and Commonly Abused Drugs

Mixing Heroin and Illicit Drugs

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