What Are the Deadliest Drug Combinations?

Posted in Drug Addiction

Without a doubt the deadliest combinations of drugs involve central nervous system (CNS) depressants. CNS depressants include sedatives, opiates and opioids. Sedatives include alcohol, barbiturates and benzodiazepines such as Valium, Klonopin and Xanax. Opiates include heroin and morphine. Opioids are synthetic or semi-synthetic pain medications that mimic the effects of opiates; these include codeine, hydrocodone (Lortab, Lorcet, Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Palladone) and methadone.

Combinations of drugs are responsible for the majority of accidental overdose fatalities in Atlanta. A study conducted by the Washington State Department of Health concluded that 72.3% of overdose victims had at least two different drugs in their systems.

The Dangers of Combining CNS Depressants

All CNS depressants are capable of causing death when taken in large enough doses. The mechanism of death in cases of CNS depressant overdose is depressed breathing, in which the body simply stops taking in sufficient amounts of oxygen. When CNS depressants are combined the effects of each are greatly amplified, and the chance of overdose is greatly increased.

Recreational drug users commonly combine their drugs of choice with alcohol, and many are unaware of the danger. Atlanta residents who abuse prescription painkillers or sedatives will often chase the drugs with large quantities of beer or hard liquor, enjoying the extremely sedating effect of the combination.

Many people do not consider alcohol to be a drug, but the fact is that alcohol is one of the hardest drugs. Alcohol is extremely toxic to the human body and can cause serious damage to many vital organs, including the brain. Alcohol is also highly addictive, producing a very strong physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms that may be life threatening. Alcohol amplifies the effects of nearly all drugs, and combining alcohol with other CNS depressants is a recipe for disaster.

Other Deadly Drug Combinations for Atlanta Residents

Combining CNS depressants with stimulants (cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, Ritalin) is also very dangerous. The effects of the drugs contradict each other, put enormous strain on the heart and may cause cardiac arrest. An example of this is the popular recreational drug “cocktail” of cocaine and heroin, dissolved and mixed together and injected intravenously. Known as a “speedball”, this drug combination killed comedian John Belushi.

Acetaminophen is a painkiller that is available in over-the-counter preparations and is also often combined with opioids in prescription medications. High levels of acetaminophen may cause liver damage, especially when combined with alcohol. Alcoholics and regular drinkers are at increased risk of suffering liver damage due to acetaminophen toxicity. The liver damage is usually permanent and may be fatal.

Questions about Drug Combinations or Treatment for Addiction?

Recreational drug use is often a dysfunctional reaction to stress, pressure or unresolved psychological or emotional issues. Escaping into drug use rather than dealing with these issues only makes the problems worse, causing more problems in the long run. Regular use of recreational drugs often includes combining dangerous drugs with alcohol, which can easily end in fatality.
Treatment for addiction and any related issues can help patients to learn to cope with pressure without resorting to drug use. If you would like help finding treatment for addiction or any related issues such as depression, or if you have any questions about drugs, addiction or treatment, call our toll-free 24 hour helpline.