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New trend: drug users mixing multiple substances

"Polysubstance" use is difficult to treat say doctors

  • Scott LaMar


“It’s no longer an opioid epidemic – this is an addiction crisis.” That’s a quote from Michigan State University associate professor Dr. Cara Poland in the New York Times.

It seems that every few months, there’s a new drug or substance that drug users find to create a better or more potent high.


Dr. Asif Ilyas

Dr. Asif Ilyas, President of the Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Foundation for Opioid Research and Education was on The Spark Thursday and said drug dealers and manufacturers are mixing multiple substances or drugs into what their customers are buying,”They’re trying to modify their product to enhance it as best they see it, to increase sales, unfortunately. And the victims are those who are abusing them. And these individuals don’t really know necessarily what are the agents that they are abusing. We’ve already known for quite some time that the common agents that are being mixed are things such as fentanyl, which is one of the most powerful illicit opioids, Xylazine, also known as tranq, which is essentially a veterinary sedative, and then methamphetamines, which is a stimulant. These are often being mixed with various agents, typically opioids, to increase that high.”

Ilyas indicated those mixing the drugs aren’t skilled at knowing what amount of a substance to put into their product,”They’re not necessarily being mindful of the dosages, the concentrations and the purity of what they’re mixing. And often times what we’re seeing when people pass out because of opioid abuse and illicit drug abuse is because of just that, they thought it was one thing and there was more fentanyl in there than they thought or there was more meth in there than they would have it thought or do. They didn’t expect it at all.”

Dr. Ilyas said education is a major part of stopping drug abuse,”It’s about helping the public understand the severity of opioid abuse, drug abuse. We’ve known this for forever, but there’s some real significant effects that happen from it, and it can affect everyone around you, your friends, your family. It doesn’t take much to get addicted and start to go down this path. So everything we can do to prevent it, to support people that are showing signs of it, and then to help people who have addiction to seek appropriate care so that it doesn’t manifest into more severe problems for the individual.”

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