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Applied sciences






















Tranquillizers, sleeping pills, opiates and alcohol.
Alcohol and benzodiazepines
Polydrug use
Classification and external resources
Specialty psychiatry
ICD-10 F19

Polydrug use refers to the use of two or more psychoactive drugs in combination to achieve a particular effect. In many cases one drug is used as a base or primary drug, with additional drugs to leaven or compensate for the side effects of the primary drug and make the experience more enjoyable with drug synergy effects, or to supplement for primary drug when supply is low.[1]


Polydrug use often carries with it more risk than use of a single drug, due to an increase in side effects, and drug synergy. The potentiating effect of one drug on another is sometimes considerable and here the licit drugs and medicines – such as alcohol, nicotine and antidepressants – have to be considered in conjunction with the controlled psychoactive substances. The risk level will depend on the dosage level of both substances. Concerns exist about a number of pharmacological pairings: alcohol and cocaine increase cardiovascular toxicity; alcohol or depressant drugs, when taken with opioids, lead to an increased risk of overdose; and opioids or cocaine taken with ecstasy or amphetamines also result in additional acute toxicity.[2] Benzodiazepines are notorious for causing death when mixed with other CNS depressants such as opioids, alcohol, or barbiturates.[3][4][5]


Within the general concept of multiple drug use, several specific meanings of the term must be considered. At one extreme is planned use, where the effects of more than one drug are taken for a desired effect. Another type is when other drugs are used to counteract the negative side effects of a different drug (e.g. depressants are used to counteract anxiety and restlessness from taking stimulants). On the other hand, the use of several substances in an intensive and chaotic way, simultaneously or consecutively, in many cases each drug substituting for another according to availability.[2]


The phenomenon is the subject of established academic literature.[6]

A study among treatment admissions found that it is more common for younger people to report polydrug drug use.[7]

MDMA taken in combination with or the day after low doses of viagra (20mg) has been shown to reduce MDMA-induced serotonin deficit in rats by increasing resistance to MDMA-induced oxidative stress.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/html.cfm/index34913EN.html
  2. ^ a b EMCDDA Annual Report 2006 ch. 8
  3. ^ Serfaty M, Masterton G (1993). "Fatal poisonings attributed to benzodiazepines in Britain during the 1980s". Br J Psychiatry 163: 386–93. doi:10.1192/bjp.163.3.386. PMID 8104653. 
  4. ^ Buckley NA, Dawson AH, Whyte IM, O'Connell DL. (1995). "[Relative toxicity of benzodiazepines in overdose.]". BMJ 310 (6974): 219–21. doi:10.1136/bmj.310.6974.219. PMC 2548618. PMID 7866122. 
  5. ^ Drummer OH; Ranson DL (December 1996). "Sudden death and benzodiazepines". Am J Forensic Med Pathol 17 (4): 336–42. doi:10.1097/00000433-199612000-00012. PMID 8947361. 
  6. ^ Scholey AB, Parrott AC, Buchanan T, Heffernan TM, Ling J, Rodgers J (June 2004). "Increased intensity of Ecstasy and polydrug usage in the more experienced recreational Ecstasy/MDMA users: a WWW study". Addict Behav 29 (4): 743–52. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2004.02.022. PMID 15135556. 
  7. ^ "Polydrug Use Among Treatment Admissions: 1998." OAS Home: Alcohol, Tobacco & Drug Abuse and Mental Health Data from SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies. Web. 29 Sept. 2011. [1]
  8. ^ Puerta, E.; Hervias, I.; Goñi-Allo, B.; Lasheras, B.; Jordan, J.; Aguirre, N. (2009). "Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors prevent 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced 5-HT deficits in the rat". Journal of Neurochemistry 108 (3): 755–766. doi:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2008.05825.x. PMID 19187094. 
  9. ^ Puerta, E.; Barros-Miñones, L.; Hervias, I.; Gomez-Rodriguez, V.; Orejana, L.; Pizarro, N.; De La Torre, R.; Jordán, J. N.; Aguirre, N. (2011). "Long-lasting neuroprotective effect of sildenafil against 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine- induced 5-hydroxytryptamine deficits in the rat brain". Journal of Neuroscience Research 90 (2): n/a. doi:10.1002/jnr.22759. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poly_drug_use — Please support Wikipedia.
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80 news items

Mackay Daily Mercury

Mackay Daily Mercury
Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:04:38 -0700

"Poly drug use makes your mood even more erratic and with all drug use there is potential for psychotic disorders and other mental health problems." The increase in people seeking help did not necessarily mean more people were using drugs. "It is ...

Limerick Post

Limerick Post
Thu, 01 Oct 2015 01:53:50 -0700

The report also indicates that smoking is almost universal among the homeless population in Limerick. Alcohol proved to be the most problematic drug, followed by the use of cannabis, street benzodiazepines and heroin. Poly-drug use was the norm ...


Wed, 09 Sep 2015 06:35:48 -0700

We respect the people doing it, but worry about any system that allows for poly-drug use — a beer in one hand, joint in the other. I worry about establishments with under-age use. I also think there seems to a feeling that people have a right not to ...

L.A. Weekly

L.A. Weekly
Fri, 07 Aug 2015 08:10:28 -0700

The move to blame adulterated ecstasy and poly drug use has led many fans to believe pure MDMA is safe. Some events have hosted pill testing tents, so fans can know — and somehow feel more assured — when they have actual ecstasy in their pockets.
BMC Blogs Network
Mon, 23 Mar 2015 22:02:25 -0700

Comparisons on several clinical and back-ground variables demonstrated that the patients had on average eight years of regular dependence on heroin and poly-drug use of the same severity as opiate dependent patients in other maintenance programs [12] ...

International Business Times AU

International Business Times AU
Thu, 28 May 2015 23:02:35 -0700

Poly-drug use continues to be a feature of the Australian drug market. Organised crime groups capitalise on this trend by not only producing but also importing several kinds of drugs based on data found in the Organised Crime in Australia 2015 report.


Thu, 05 Feb 2015 08:19:29 -0800

Over the last decade Ireland's street drug culture has changed rapidly. These days you're more likely to find Dublin's street dealers selling Zimmovanes—strong sleeping tablets commonly known as "Zimmos"—or benzodiazepines—sedative drugs like Valium ...
Drug WarRant
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 07:28:45 -0800

This article absolutely destroys the abstinence-only approach to addiction treatment that drives so much of U.S. drug policy and the treatment industry, showing how this approach actually leads to many of the overdose deaths we see, while failing to ...

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