Substance misuse is a very dangerous and misunderstood issue. One of the most complex aspects of drug use is when individuals use more than one drug at the same time, officially known as polydrug use.
In this blog, we look at the combination of mixing ketamine and cocaine as well as the severe risks both of these drugs pose. In doing so, we want to highlight the importance of not mixing these drugs, for both the wellbeing of individuals and their overall safety.
What Is Ketamine and Cocaine?
Ketamine is a medication that is traditionally used for starting and maintaining anaesthesia within human and animal medicine. It boasts dissociative properties, which results in individuals being in a trance-like state while providing sedation and pain relief. When used in medical settings, and prescribed by a professional, it is legal. In fact, ketamine has been used in the medical field as a psychedelic therapy, primarily used to treat mental health and alcohol addiction. However, it also, unfortunately, has the potential for misuse due to its tranquilising and hallucinogenic effects.
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that is extracted from the coca plant. It is illegal due to the negative impact it can have on our physical and mental health, and misused for its ability to create intense and short-lived moments of euphoria. Recent studies show that cocaine is one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the UK, with just over 2.5% of the population between the ages of 16 and 59 admitting that they used powder cocaine.
The same Crime Survey for England and Wales found that there had been an increase in the number of people using cocaine in the UK, especially amongst the age group of adults aged 16 – 24. Shockingly, deaths related to cocaine have also been rising in the UK. Ketamine use has also been increasing in the UK, and the number of people accessing ketamine addiction treatment is rising compared to previous years.
The Risks of Mixing Narcotics
Mixing drugs, also known as polydrug use, describes the consumption of more than one drug at the same time. This behaviour is very risky as the drugs can have different effects, which can be unpredictable.
What’s more, these effects are likely to be more harmful compared to a single dose of a single drug alone. The different types of drugs may also interact with each other, such as a stimulant and depressant, and can put immense strain on the body as it struggles to cope with opposing actions and effects.
Immediate Dangers of Mixing Ketamine and Cocaine
The risks of cocaine and ketamine are high when used on their own and include both physical and mental health concerns. However, when combining the drugs, the risks are even more severe. This is because cocaine, which is a stimulant, masks the sedative effects of ketamine. This can result in individuals consuming much higher doses of ketamine than they can handle. What’s more, the combination of stimulant and sedative effects can cause the heart to work faster, and could even lead to cardiac arrest. As with any drug use, there is also the risk that individuals may experience a cocaine and ketamine overdose.
In the UK, the rates of using cocaine are some of the highest, and cocaine purity levels have also been rising, which could be contributing to the increased number of overdoses and deaths. What’s more, recently, ketamine was reclassified from a class C drug to a class B drug in the UK as a result of concerns regarding its physical and psychological harms.
In the UK, deaths associated with drug misuse are at historically high levels. And, polydrug use, of both legal and illegal drugs is believed to be a growing concern for this rise in deaths and hospital admissions.
Long-Term Health Implications of Mixing Ketamine and Cocaine
Long-term drug use can lead to serious health concerns, but the combination of both ketamine and cocaine can result in significant mental and physical health issues. Individuals can suffer from memory problems, depression, anxiety, and even long-term changes to the brain.
Organ damage is also a concern, especially to the heart and liver, and there is a risk that individuals can also develop bladder issues as a result of ketamine’s effects on the urinary tract. Hospital admissions regarding ketamine-related bladder issues are now regarded as a specific concern.
Recognising the Signs of an Overdose
As mentioned, there is always the risk that someone might overdose, but when two drugs are consumed at the same period of time, this risk increases. To reduce the risk, it’s important that you are aware of the signs of overdose and seek medical attention fast if you believe that either you or someone you know could be overdosing. Some of the most common signs of overdose include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Extreme confusion
- Irregular heart rate
- Unconsciousness or being unresponsive yet awake
- Nausea and vomiting
- severe stomach pain
- chest pain
- loss of balance and coordination
Getting Help for Ketamine and Cocaine Abuse
Drug addiction is a treatable condition. But it often does require the help of a professional. That’s why if you or someone you know is struggling with drug use, identifying the need for help is the first step. There are various treatments out there and rehab centres that have helped hundreds of people to get their life back on track thanks to a combination of therapy, medication, lifestyle changes and support groups.
For anyone living with an addiction or who finds themselves combining ketamine and cocaine or any other drugs, just know that help is available. Plus, at the Rehab Clinics Group, we offer specific treatment that addresses the complex nature of polydrug use and offers continual support. Simply get in touch today about our treatment for drug addiction and take the first step towards your recovery.