Mixing Drugs

Mixing Drugs Information

These details are taken from Terrence Higgins Trust website www.drugfucked.tht.org.uk

For further information please call THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200 or visit www.tht.org.uk

Mixing without knowing?

We often mix drugs (sometimes called ‘poly-drug use’) without realising – a beer while smoking a joint, or you might drop an E, sniff poppers on the dance floor, then use Viagra later on in the night.  You might think you’re taking one drug when you’re in fact taking several because one substance can be cut with another. Ecstasy pills are especially likely to contain other substances, like MDMA, caffeine, ephedrine, speed, codeine, ketamine, etc.

No matter how experienced you are, you can never be totally sure of the effect a drug or a mixture of chems will have on you.  Street drugs aren’t made using a standard recipe or ingredients, so their strength can be unpredictable. If you’re going to use drugs, using less (and only one drug at one time) should make drug related problems less likely.

‘Drug cocktails’

When drugs are mixed, the effects may increase dramatically or they may produce different and unpredictable reactions. Taking more than one drug puts extra stress on the body (heart, brain, liver, etc). Sometimes these ‘drug cocktails’ can result in an overdose and/or death. The ‘crash’ or comedown can be nastier too.

Taking two drugs that have the same effect increases the risk of a dangerous reaction, e.g. two depressants can make you unconscious, two stimulants can put real pressure on your heart or circulation. But your body also gets stressed if you take drugs that have opposite effects – one drug is telling it to slow down, the other is making it speed up.

Drugs tend to be grouped according to the effect they have on our body. It’s important to understand which drug is which - because when mixing them, taking two of the same kind can be especially risky.

Depressants (‘downers’)

These slow down your body’s functions. You feel more relaxed, your heart and breathing slow down, you might feel less awake, etc.

Examples include:


Taking depressants together risks slowing your body’s functions (such as your breathing and brain function) to a dangerous, life threatening level. You can end up knocked out or dead. Alcohol and GHB is a particularly risky combination.

Stimulants (‘uppers’)

These speed up your body’s functions. You feel more alert, your heart beats faster, blood pressure goes up, you might feel jumpy, grind your teeth, etc. and afterwards feel ‘down’.

Examples include:


The more stimulants you take, the greater pressure on your heart and circulation, risking heart attack or stroke; e.g. cocaine and amphetamines together really put your heart under stress.