Mixing Meth With Other Drugs

Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug comprised of amphetamine and toxic-chemical mixtures. As a psychostimulant, methamphetamine (or meth) produces fleeting boosts in mental and physical performance, from heightened alertness to increased physical stamina.

Distributed in crystal, rock and powder forms, meth is known by numerous street names, including crank, glass, speed and white cross.

The short-term effects of meth can range from positive to negative, with new users experiencing everything from wakefulness and energy to irregular heartbeats and irritability. Problems increase as users become addicted, with many long-term users displaying psychotic behavior and signs of paranoia. People from all walks of life have used meth with varying degrees of intensity, from cases of random recreational hits to prolonged and ultimately lethal dependencies.

A Brief History of Methamphetamine

Like most synthetic drugs, methamphetamine was initially created for remedial purposes. As noted by the Department of Health for the state of Vermont, the drug was championed by Japanese pharmacologists as a treatment for fatigue and depression at the close of World War I.

By the early 1930s, amphetamine forms were being administered in the United States to treat everything from nasal problems to sleeping disorders.

With its gradual spread across the Pacific, however, meth came to be accounted for various ill effects amongst users, and production was promptly halted by the Japanese Ministry of Health at the dawn of the 1950s. Over the following 20 years, meth abuse spread amongst student and working-class populations throughout the US, which ultimately led to the regulation of meth under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Recent decades have nonetheless given rise to cross-border meth trafficking, and usage has skyrocketed amongst gang members, party-goers, ethnic groups and sexual minorities.

How Is Meth Consumed?

Meth can be consumed in the following different ways:

  • Ingestion: when its crystal form is eaten or its powder form is drank, usually in combination with alcohol
  • Inhalation: when its crystal form is smoked
  • Intranasal: when its powder form is snorted through the nostrils
  • Intravenous: when its powder form is liquefied and injected into the veins
  • Intramuscular: when its powder form is liquefied and injected into the flesh

All forms of meth consumption can bring powerful and dangerous effects upon users, but the quickest and most intense doses are the injections that send meth straight into the bloodstream.

The Co-Administration of Meth With Other Drugs

Some of the most dangerous consumptions of meth have involved polydrug use, in which two or more drugs are combined to produce a broader range of stimulating effects.

According to figures gathered by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), polydrug use involving meth and other hard substances leads to many unsafe behaviors amongst people within high-risk groups for sexually transmitted diseases. In its 2009 survey of 341 HIV-positive men, the NLM reported that 65 percent engaged in riskier forms of unprotected intercourse when under the influence of co-administered meth abuse. Poly-usage in such cases is typically motivated by a wish for prolonged sexual stamina, which many abusers seek by mixing methamphetamines with other drugs like sildenafil, GHB and ketamine.

Figures gathered in the NLM survey revealed numerous commonalities amongst HIV-positive polydrug users, including the following:

  • 21.9 percent were African American
  • 52 percent had been diagnosed with psychiatric problems
  • 78 percent had only finished high school, or merely attended college at the entry level
  • 80 percent were netting incomes of less than $19,999 per year
  • 92 percent were clinically defined as being dependant on methamphetamines

While the NLM acknowledged a paucity in prior studies on the co-administration of meth with other drugs, their own study has revealed a set of fundamental disadvantages amongst poly-meth users in terms of education and income.

*Which Drugs Are Most Commonly Mixed With Meth?

Sixty-five percent of those surveyed by the NLM reported mixing methamphetamines with other hard drugs. Alcoholic beverages notwithstanding, meth was combined with other drugs at the following rates:

  • 43.7 percent with marijuana
  • 14 percent with GBH
  • 10.8 percent with amyl nitrates (poppers)
  • 8.6 percent with both cocaine and Ecstasy
  • 2.7 percent with both heroin and Viagra

Out of all the people surveyed who co-administered meth, 23 percent did so with two or more other drugs. The most common triple mixtures included combinations of meth and marijuana with poppers (56.9 percent) and GBH (37.3 percent). Quadruple mixtures accounted for 8.2 percent of poly-meth cases across the survey, in which the drug was typically combined with GBH, Special K, marijuana and the occasional dose of Ecstasy or Viagra.

General Motives Behind Poly-Meth Abuse

Poly-meth abuse has become common amongst party-goers throughout many corners of the Anglosphere. In 2009, the Australian Department of Health and Ageing (DHA) reported high frequencies of meth/cocaine and meth/Ecstasy mixtures within the Sydney club scene. Various factors play into these poly-usage patterns, with many clubbers combining whichever drugs happen to be available and others mixing in more drugs as intoxication takes hold. While boundaries tend to be low in drug circles, some poly-users have drawn the line at hallucinogens, especially when prior episodes of paranoia have been a factor.

Ecstasy: The Primary Drug Among Western Poly-Users

MDMA, or “Ecstasy,” has become a widely used recreational drug throughout the Western club scene over the last quarter century. Despite its remedial origins in the realm of psychotherapy, Ecstasy has become primarily identified as a sensory enhancer amongst fans of dance pop and electronica. Though prohibited in most countries, Ecstasy is widely distributed at clubs and raves in the form of colored pills.

Figures gathered in American and Australian surveys have found Ecstasy to be the most commonly abused drug across the board among young, club-going poly-users, especially those who also use methamphetamines. The aforementioned DHA report gathered that 71 percent of Ecstasy users in Australia were mixing the drug with meth, and many of those same people also displayed risky propensities towards drinking.

Here in the US, the NLM has reported that 91.7 percent of New York City club goers in the 18-to-29 age bracket have engaged in polydrug abuse, with Ecstasy factoring into a whopping 86.6 percent of all combinations.

As an expose into the motives behind poly-usage, the phrase “universal complement” was attributed to many of those surveyed by the NLM when it came to defining the co-administration of Ecstasy with other hard drugs.

Viagra and Meth: A Recipe for Risky Behavior

Due to the lowering of inhibitions through meth intoxication, the drug has been a contributing factor in countless acts of risky sexual behavior. Despite the effects that meth can have on lowering a man’s sense of sexual responsibility, however, the drug can also cause erectile dysfunction. Therefore, the co-administration of meth and Viagra has become relatively common during sexual encounters between people in high-risk categories.

How Do Combinations of Meth and Viagra Increase the Risk of Contracting HIV?

In a California study conducted by the NLM on a range of both heterosexual and homosexual men, respondents in the latter category were most likely to have co-administered meth and Viagra. Some of these users also added poppers to the mix, which led to the following findings:

  • The risk of HIV seroconversion jumped from 2.99 percent for those who used only one drug to 8.45 percent for those who mixed meth with Viagra and poppers.
  • In advance of sexual contact, the drugs are generally taken in the following sequence: Viagra first, poppers second and methamphetamine last.
  • The preceding sequence led to the highest rates of unprotected sex between homosexual men.
  • Meth usage is generally more associated with the receptive parties in these encounters, while Viagra is more responsible for insertive acts.

Further Co-Administrations of Methamphetamine

The topic of polydrug abuse has been tragically overlooked in most narcotics studies. In Cocaine and Methamphetamine Dependence: Advances in Treatment (2011), doctors Richard De La Garza II, Ph.D. and Ari D. Kalechstein, Ph.D. bemoan this lack of research, given how most health care providers will attest that polydrug use is typical amongst meth and cocaine addicts. While the NLM has studied the effects of meth and heroin combination on lab rats, La Garza and Kalechstein note that the effects of various drug combinations on human subjects have yet to be evaluated.

Overcoming Methamphetamine Addiction

As one of the most highly addictive illicit drugs, methamphetamine withdrawal can be extremely difficult for long-time users. Sadly, these last two decades have seen a marked increase in meth addiction across the US. As noted by the Department of Health and Human Services, emergency room visits involving meth usage jumped by 54 percent between 1995 and 2002, with cities like Baltimore, Newark, and New Orleans witnessing increases of 500 percent or more during said period. In more than 60 percent of these cases, poly-usage involving alcohol, cocaine and marijuana were also reported.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addictions involving meth and other drugs, serious treatment should be sought immediately. It might initially seem like a difficult step to take, but our caring staff will direct you to the finest treatment centers in your area when you call our toll-free number.