More than 64,000 Americans die from drug overdose deaths each year, which drives home the dangers of substance abuse. A little-known fact is that many of the people who lose their lives to overdoses have more than one drug in their system.

When you mix two or more drugs, which is referred to as polydrug abuse, you are also increasing your chances of a negative outcome. The FDA has recently issued a warning about the dangers of mixing drugs, which applies to drugs used for opioid addiction treatment.

The Dangers of Polydrug Abuse

Many people mistakenly believe that they will enhance their experience or avoid the comedown effects from drugs by combining substances, but the risk associated with these activities are just too great. When you mix drugs, you run a significant risk of stronger side effects from the substances, including the possibility of an overdose.

Alcohol is often combined with other illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and opioids. In 2011, more than 14 percent of all emergency department visits in the U.S., or approximately 520,000 cases, involved the combination of alcohol and drugs.

Drugs, alcohol, and even prescription medications contain many ingredients, some of which are not meant to mix or be combined. When several drugs act on the body’s same systems, mixing them will amplify the effect, often with catastrophic results. For example, when you combine alcohol with an opioid such as heroin, it can result in severe respiratory depression, which puts you at a greater risk for overdose and death.

The FDA’s Warning on Mixing Drugs

In September 2017, the FDA issued a warning about the dangers associated with mixing opioid addiction treatment drugs with certain anti-anxiety drugs. The agency warns that combining these drugs could depress breathing and brain activity, leading to coma and even death.

Many people who suffer from opioid use disorders are receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT) that includes using long-lasting opioids such as buprenorphine for detox. These drugs can depress the central nervous system, particularly when combined with drugs used for anxiety, sleep, and certain muscle relaxers.

The warning list that the FDA provided included several dozen band name and generic drugs that could pose a risk when combined with opioid addiction treatment medications. Among them are Xanax, Valium, Ambien, Lunesta, Soma, Zanaflex, Abilify, and Invega.

While the agency stressed that getting treatment for opioid addiction outweighs the risks associated with participating in MAT, treatment should include rehabilitation, counseling, and other means of support in addition to medication.

Get the Addiction Treatment Help You Need Today

If you are suffering from a substance use disorder, there are many safe treatment options available. The Orlando Recovery Center offers Medication Assisted Therapy under the strict supervision of medical professionals to ensure your safety and comfort.

Being unable to stop using drugs or alcohol might make you feel hopeless about the future, but there is a solution available that can provide you with a foundation for a new way of life. Contact us now to speak with one of our addiction specialists about our comprehensive addiction treatment programs that we will customize to fit your needs.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.