What is Polydrug use:
Polydrug use refers to the use of two or more drugs in combination to achieve a particular effect.
How do people take Polydrugs:
A typical drug taking session often starts with alcohol and is then accompanied by other drugs.
Where are Polydrugs taken:
Polydrug use is common in social contexts where the occasion involves clubs, pubs, dance venues, festivals, street drinking and parties.
Why do people use Polydrugs:
Most often users would be seeking a particular effect to suit the social situation they are in, and will choose from among the range of drugs that they are familiar with to achieve it. In Dublin 15, polydrug use is perceived as the norm and is predominantly done at weekends with people aged 15 and over. The type of drugs used together included the following: alcohol, weed, ecstasy, cocaine powder, synthetic stimulants, benzodiazepines and z drugs.
If I did cocaine...I’d need something to come down and I’d use whatever is nearest...heroin, benzos, methadone.
– Treated drug user, DATMS report 2016
Heavy alcohol use plays a key role when combining drugs. Sometimes people drink more than normal while using other drugs, or alternatively, if they were feeling the effects of drinking too much alcohol they turn to drugs to sustain themselves. The drug prevalence data for 2010/11 reported that after cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine powder were the most commonly used illegal drugs (NACD, 2011).
Effects from using Polydrugs:
In 2014 the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol (NACDA) research found that polydrug use is associated with a number of negative consequences including mental and physical ill-health, violence, aggression and a range of social problems. Polydrug use is more likely to result in accidents and death (including death from overdose) than when a single substance is consumed.
Treatment for Polydrug misuse:
Polydrug use is more complex to treat, requiring services that can treat both alcohol and other drug dependence while providing a broad range of interventions, and is associated with poorer treatment outcomes.