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Mixing Meth with Other Drugs: Symptoms, Statistics, & Dangers

Taking the form of a white, odorless powder, methamphetamine (meth/crystal meth) is a very powerful and addictive stimulant drug that people misuse for various reasons.1 Crystal meth is a form of the drug that resembles glass fragments or bluish-white rocks.2  Meth impacts the central nervous system (CNS) by increasing levels of dopamine, a chemical that plays a role in reward-seeking and motivation, and is also associated with addictive behaviors.2 If you or someone you care about are concerned about the effects of mixing meth with other drugs, you should know that professional treatment is available to help people struggling with meth and polysubstance use.

Why Do People Mix Meth With Other Drugs?

People sometimes combine meth with other drugs, a practice that is known as polysubstance use.3 Polysubstance use can be intentional, such as when people combine drugs to experience different effects, or unintentional, such as when they use substances that are cut with other, unknown drugs, or when they mix medications without knowing the effects.4

Mixing meth with other substances can have serious, even potentially life-threatening, consequences, including dangerous drug interactions and an increased risk of meth overdose.4

Dangers of Mixing Opioids and Meth

People may intentionally or unintentionally combine opioids, like heroin or fentanyl, with meth.3-5

People may combine meth and opioids to avoid opioid-related withdrawal symptoms, to prolong the high of each substance, to reduce the negative side effects of meth, or because the combination can produce a “roller coaster ride” of a high with different pleasurable sensations.5-8 Since meth is a stimulant drug and opioids are CNS depressants, people may combine these substances thinking that they cancel each other out, but this is not the case, and the effects can be unpredictable and dangerous.4 The combination of meth and opioids is often referred to as a “goofball.”7

Using opioids and stimulants like meth can cause effects associated with either substance, including confusion, incoherence, blurred vision, stupor, drowsiness, paranoia, and mental impairment because of lack of sleep.1

Additional effects of use of polysubstance use of meth and opioids may include:6,9

  • Increased pleasurable feelings and euphoria.
  • Cardiovascular problems.
  • Respiratory infections.

Dangers of Mixing Cocaine and Meth

Cocaine and meth are both stimulant drugs that, when combined, can have dangerous and lethal effects.4 Mixing cocaine and meth is a somewhat common combination; between 2015-2018, 30.4% of past year meth users also used cocaine, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Report, and a 2020 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that out of past-year methamphetamine users, 32.2% also used cocaine.9,10

People may mix cocaine and meth for different reasons, such as to increase the stimulating effects of each substance or to experience prolonged euphoria.10 However, combining meth and cocaine can increase the risk of overdose and other dangerous effects.4 According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there were 32,537 overdose deaths due to stimulants, including cocaine or psychostimulants with abuse potential (primarily methamphetamine).11

The effects and symptoms of combining stimulants can include:4,9

  • Serotonin syndrome.
  • Psychosis, including delusions and hallucinations.
  • Anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks that can be fatal.
  • Liver damage.
  • Brain injury.
  • Stroke.
  • Overdose.

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Meth

According to one report of past month users of meth, 13.4% reported heavy past month alcohol use (defined as binge drinking—5 or more drinks for men or 4 or more for women on a single occasion—on 5 or more days of the past month), while another report says that the rate of co-use of alcohol and methamphetamine was around 1.2%.5

Alcohol is a depressant, and meth is a stimulant, so people may combine alcohol and meth because they think sedative properties of alcohol will counteract some of meth’s stimulating effects, such as sleep disturbances, or they may combine the two to increase euphoric feelings.3,12

Mixing meth and alcohol can cause different, unpredictable, and possibly lethal effects, such as:3,4,13

  • An increased risk of heart problems.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • An increased risk of alcohol overdose due to the masking effects of meth.
  • An increased risk of overdose.

Dangers of Mixing Meth and Other Drugs

Meth can also be mixed with many different drugs besides those already mentioned. For example, one report indicates that combining marijuana and meth is common, with researchers finding a prevalence rate of 23%, and another indicating a 59% rate of concurrent use of meth and marijuana.3 People may combine marijuana and meth for different reasons, such as to decrease the symptoms associated with a stimulant “come down.”3

Combining marijuana and meth can be dangerous because it can increase the risk of severe paranoia and psychosis.3

People who use meth may also unknowingly use other substances. Meth can be cut with other drugs, such as fentanyl, which can increase the risk of unpredictable and potentially deadly effects, including overdose.1,4 Fentanyl mixed with meth can be lethal—in 2020, there were around 40,000 overdose deaths involving stimulants (primarily methamphetamine) and synthetic opioids like fentanyl.11

Finding Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction 

Polysubstance use is a dangerous practice that can increase the risk of serious health effects and overdose.4 If you or a loved one are struggling with stimulant use disorder or other substance use, you should know that help is available.

Depending on your unique needs and the other substances you use, you may start the recovery process with medical drug detox and then transition to an inpatient treatment or outpatient rehab for ongoing treatment.9 The exact treatment you receive can depend on the substances you use. For example, there are medications to treat alcohol and opioid withdrawal and addiction but no FDA-approved medications for treating marijuana or stimulant addiction; meth addiction treatment typically involves behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or motivational incentives, to help people work on underlying issues and avoid triggers to resume substance use.9

Getting help for polysubstance use is important, and it can help you make positive and lasting changes in your life. If you have questions about meth addiction or treatment, or are interested in starting the recovery process, please contact American Addiction Centers at to get answers to any questions and learn more about your rehab options.

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