As if drug use alone isn’t dangerous enough, when people mix drugs, they become even more hazardous. While many intensify the effects of others, there are too many combinations of drugs out there that can turn deadly quicker than you think.
Here are a few of the most fatal drug concoctions.
Alcohol and Benzodiazepines
Both alcohol and benzodiazepines like Xanax and Klonopin are central nervous system depressants, slowing down the body’s systems and making them work at a less than perfect pace. When alcohol and benzos are taken together, there’s a significant increase in respiratory distress, which can lead to respiratory failure.
In layman’s terms, this means the lungs aren’t breathing deep enough and that if the breathing becomes too shallow, the lungs will fail to deliver the necessary amount of oxygen to the brain, causing the body to go into distress and the organs to shut down.
Alcohol and Opiates
Just as dangerous as alcohol mixed with benzos, alcohol and opiates, a class of drugs that includes both prescription pain killers and heroin, can be deadly.
Drugs such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, and morphine are also depressants, slowing the body’s processes and when combined with alcohol, the effects of both increase exponentially, causing significant impairment as well as easy overdoses.
Alcohol and Cocaine
When alcohol and cocaine are mixed together, they create cocaethylene, a toxic chemical formed when alcohol interferes with the liver’s attempt to rid the body of cocaine.
Although the formation of cocaethylene creates a specific high, a longer lasting euphoric state, it can also turn toxic, causing severe damage to the liver, heart, and other organs. It’s often associated with heart attacks and is what killed Whitney Houston.
Cocaine and Ecstasy
When it comes to mixing cocaine and ecstasy, it can create a problem with body temperature regulation. And since both of these drugs often make people get up and move, the body easily overheats.
It gets even more complicated when mixing these two, as both of them tend to be cut with additives and other substances. When a health complication does arise, there’s no way to know what’s really been taken.
Cocaine and Opiates
A combination of stimulants and depressants, mixing cocaine and opiates is dangerous. Sometimes referred to as a speedball, mixing cocaine and opiates is what killed John Belushi, Chris Farley, and River Phoenix.
Although this concoction can cause seizures and heart attacks, most users don’t realize how intoxicated they are until it’s too late.
Opiates and Benzodiazepines
With two central nervous system depressants, opiates and benzodiazepines severely slow the body’s respiratory system, and can make breathing slow down so much that it eventually stops and the body shuts down, ending in death.
These two medications are sometimes prescribed together, and doctors rarely discuss with patients the risks involved in mixing the two.