All About Poly Drug Use

We don’t always know what is in our drugs. We don’t know how strong they are or how they are going to interact. Mixing them can lead to unexpected or adverse effects and is not advised.

On this page, we have got some general info about mixing drugs. This is not a full list of combinations, and the advice is general. Speak to a health professional for any specific guidance.

What is poly-drug use?   

‘Polydrug use’ is a term for the use of more than one drug or type of drug at the same time or one after another. Polydrug use can involve both illicit drugs and legal substances, such as alcohol and medications. Using several substances in combination with each other can increase their effects, increase their unpredictability, and cause extra strain on your body.  You can read more about poly-drug use on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website or look at a more detailed list of combinations here. 

Stimulants + depressants:

When we mix stimulants, like crystal with depressants like alcohol or a high dose of GHB this can put the body under stress. When you combine these drugs, your body must process conflicting messages. Stimulants do not counteract the effect of depressants and depressants do not counteract the effect of stimulants. This means that some of the effects of the drugs can combine, and this can put strain on your heart or cause abnormal heart rhythms. Mixing these types of drugs can be dangerous. You are at more risk of harm if you have poor physical health, if you have been partying for a long time and if you take high doses.

Stimulants + stimulants: You can overdose on stimulants; read more information from NUAA about stimulant overdose.

Depressants + depressants

Crystal + viagra + amyl

Getting hard on crystal can be difficult. Sometimes people use amyl and erectile dysfunction medicine to address this. Using drugs like Viagra and amyl at the same time increases the risk of heart attack and can greatly reduce blood pressure causing collapse. Avoid this combination, especially if you have a history of heart disease yourself or in your family.

Drugs + prescription medications

If you are on any kind of prescription medication like;

  • Antidepressants or anxiety medications
  • PrEP
  • HIV treatment or
  • Gender-affirming hormones

It is important that you discuss this with your doctor. Your doctor can give you advice about what interactions you can expect. Partying on any drugs for a long time may make you more likely to forget to take your prescribed meds. Make sure you keep your medications with you and set reminders on your phone to help you to remember to take them.

HIV medications: If you are taking medication to treat HIV, use this resource from the University of Liverpool to check how your HIV medication might interact with other substances.


Bad reactions to poly-drug use can be fatal. Depending on what has been taken, the signs of an overdose may differ.

What to do in case of an overdose

  • Get (medical) help immediately if you or someone else experience any overdose symptoms or is not responding to you.
  • If you are in a club or at a dance party, attract the attention of medical or security staff, ACON Rovers or DanceWize NSW.
  • In a private setting or in a location where medical assistance is not available, call 000. In a private setting or in a location where medical assistance is not available, call 000.
  • If you have notified someone or are waiting for an ambulance, lay the person on their left side (recovery position) so if they vomit, they won’t choke. Make sure their air passage is clear and their chin is not pressed in against their chest.
  • If you have contacted an ambulance, answer their questions honestly and in a calm and clear manner. Once you have answered all questions, do not hang up the phone, stay on the line and follow any instructions that they give you.

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