Polydrug use

What does polydrug use mean and what are the dangers?

Polydrug use means:

  • using two or more drugs in combination (eg tobacco and alcohol)
  • using one drug to counteract the effects (or the after effects) of another
  • using different drugs at different times over a short period of days or weeks.

Polydrug use is very common among people who use drugs.

The dangers of polydrug use

Using a single psychoactive drug can be dangerous; using more than one significantly increases the risks. In particular, if two drugs of the same type, such as the depressants heroin and alcohol, are used together, there are greatly increased risks of accidents, overdose and death.

Other common dangerous drug combinations include ecstasy with alcohol, heroin with sedatives, and amphetamines with sedatives.

Because alcohol is the most widely abused psychoactive drug, it is also the most commonly involved in risky polydrug use.