Mixing drugs

Mixing substances is often described as polydrug use where someone takes two or more different drugs in a session. People often use a drug of choice such as alcohol, cannabis, cocaine or speed and will top up, come down, or replace it with other drugs. This kind of drug use is very common however combining drugs can create unexpected, unwanted and unpredictable effects.


Mixing two or more stimulants (uppers) together such as cocaine, speed and MDMA can increase your high however it can also put a lot of strain on your body and you may be more likely to develop negative effects such as palpitations, chest pain, sleeplessness, overdose and heart problems. It is also more likely that the comedown will be more intense and may lead to people using downers to ease the effects.


Mixing two or more depressants (downers) can be very dangerous as the risk of overdose is much more likely. Alcohol is one of the most common downers used with other drugs and mixing it with other downers such as GBL/GHB, heroin and benzodiazepines can make your heart rate and breathing dangerously low and you may become very sleepy and unresponsive. This can also increase your risk of being sick and choking in your sleep.

Stimulants and Depressants

Mixing stimulants with depressants (downers) such as alcohol, and benzodiazepines (such as Valium or Xanax) may take the edge off the ‘come up’ or ‘come down’ but it can also put more strain on your body as one drug is speeding up your heart rate and breathing and the other is trying to slow them down. Cannabis and benzodiazepines are a popular choice to help with a come down however they may also cause negative effects such as anxiety and paranoia to become more intense.

Anti-depressant medication

Taking drugs while you are on a course of anti-depressants can interfere with the way the medication works or change the effects of the other drugs you take.  Research any possible interactions carefully. It is important not to suddenly stop taking your medication. Information about anti-depressant medications such as side effects and “settling in time” can be found on the headmeds website.

If you drink alcohol while on anti-depressants you might feel that you get drunk more easily or experience blackouts. You might also feel low for a longer time after you have been drinking. Using substances like MDMA while taking certain antidepressants increase the risk and SSRI medications can block the intended effects of MDMA which could cause you to take more than planned. Some kinds of anti-depressants react with trippy drugs like mushrooms, LSD and synthetic trips like 2CB. Tripping while you are feeling down, experiencing mental health issues or taking medication is not advised. It is important to be particularly cautious if taking medication containing “MAOIs.”

What you need to know

If you choose to take different drugs in one session:

  • Allow the effects of one drug to wear off before taking another one
  • Avoid mixing uppers and downers as this puts a strain on your heart
  • Avoid mixing pain killers/ sleeping pills and downers as they both slow your heart and breathing right down
  • Avoid using alcohol as always increases the risk
  • Try to use different ways to come down; Chill out in a comfortable place with friends, breathing techniques, relaxing music
  • Replace fluids and increase vitamin C by sipping water, isotonic drinks or fresh orange juice

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