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Understanding Combined Drug Intoxication (CDI)

David Hunter, MA.Ed, LPC

Medically reviewed by

David Hunter, MA.Ed, LPC

April 4, 2019

Combined drug intoxication, or taking multiple drugs at once, is very dangerous and can lead to addiction, overdose, and even death. An individual should seek treatment immediately if they or someone they know is abusing multiple substances together.

When an individual uses more than one drug at once, it is called Combined Drug Intoxication or CDI. Other terms for this occurrence are: lethal polydrug/polypharmacy intoxication, multiple drug intake (MDI), and even co-occurring drug intake. Abusing drugs or alcohol is already dangerous enough, but when individuals mix multiple drugs and alcohol together, it can lead to deadly results.

Mixing multiple drugs and alcohol together is unfortunately fairly common and according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 39% of those in an addiction treatment facility used more than one drug during their battle with addiction.

CDI is an unnatural cause of death where the person died from mixing various drugs and alcohol together. Combined Drug Intoxication used to be a rare occurrence, but a recent medical study found that from 1983 to 2004, deaths caused by CDI rose 360.5%. Younger teens and young adults are perhaps drawn to the activity of sharing and mixing prescription drug medications with alcohol and other drugs. And CDI even puts older adults at risk too.

A Disturbing Trend

Over 29 celebrities have passed away from CDI. Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, and Jimi Hendrix just to name a few, are among other famous individuals that have died due to mixing drugs and alcohol. No one is immune from the effects of drugs and alcohol. Perhaps people have gravitated towards abusing multiple drugs because they are familiar with stories such as Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson. Maybe others have long desired to emulate the rich and famous lifestyles of their role models. But partying and mixing drugs and alcohol is not a trend to follow. Sadly, the trend seems to have gained momentum recently. Hospitalizations resulting from drug and alcohol mixing overdoses have risen 76% for those aged 18 to 24 from 1999 through 2008.

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Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates

If you have ever watched the classic movie, Forrest Gump, one of the famous lines is when Forrest said, “My momma always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” Similarly, when a person mixes drugs and alcohol together, they don’t know what they are going to get either. It’s a chance you just don’t want to take. When you mix drugs and alcohol together, what is guaranteed is that you are putting your life at risk.

Some concoctions could lead to paranoia, some could lead to hallucinations, and other mixtures could lead to slowed breathing or even death. Mixing different drugs and alcohol can lead to different symptoms and it depends on the amount of the intoxicant and the types of substances used. For example, when opiates are mixed with prescription tranquilizers or alcohol, it can lead to stopped breathing.

Drugs are mixed with other drugs or alcohol to create a better high or to try to alleviate some negative effects of another drug. But again, individual results vary and are wildly unpredictable. Mixing opiates with stimulants like cocaine or meth, can cause a user to be more awake and alert. Some types of drugs and alcohol may be mixed at clubs or parties where users will mix drugs to not feel fatigued during hours of dancing. MDMA (Molly and Ecstasy) when mixed with marijuana can cause users to feel paranoia and hallucinations.

Stimulants mixed with alcohol or opiates can cause a person to feel less intoxicated, which can lead to them consuming even more substances. Opiates like heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone, when mixed with alcohol or benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium, can cause extreme incapacitation where a person might slur their speech, seem sleepy, or be off balance. And some mixtures can lead to severe overdoses. Different drugs and alcohol react differently with each other and it is not something that anyone should experiment with.

What Happens If I Mix Drugs And Alcohol?

Mixing drugs and alcohol together in a concoction can only lead to very bad outcomes. Perhaps you have mixed drugs and alcohol before. You might feel invincible. You might feel that you can escape death. But no one can escape the effects of mixing drugs and alcohol together. Taking drugs and alcohol and mixing them together in whatever way you want can lead to serious health problems and long term effects on the brain. Just by mixing Vicodin and Acetaminophen together gives you a 50% chance of getting kidney disease.

So what happens if you mix drugs and alcohol together? Bad things happen, very bad things. What little relief or high you might experience while taking the drugs and alcohol does not compare to the intense damage you are putting your body through each time you abuse and mix substances. If you don’t stop your addiction today, it will eventually catch up to you. You are damaging your body and putting your life at risk every time you abuse drugs and alcohol. Take charge and seek help now before it’s too late.

We Can Help

Seeking help for your addiction is a brave choice. Continuing with your addiction can lead to serious complications and even death. You have the opportunity right now to change your life. Find help for your drug and alcohol addiction today. At RehabCenter.net, we want to help. Contact us and we can help you pick out a treatment plan that is right for you. We understand what you are going through, and we’re waiting for you to reach out to us today. The decision to get better is the best decision you can make.

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