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Polysubstance use 

Polysubstance use
Chapter:
Polysubstance use
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198714750.003.0017
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date: 26 May 2019

Chapter 17 of Addiction Medicine outlines the epidemiology, consequences, and management of polysubstance use. This is an increasingly common pattern of substance use and is the predominant form seen in many groups of young people. The different combinations of psychoactive substances are described, ranging from limited-range clusters such as alcohol and tobacco, and alcohol and cannabis, to extended-range ones involving alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, psychostimulants, prescription drugs, and other illicit drugs. Reasons for combining drugs are set out. Management of polysubstance use needs to consider the effects of specific combinations, which may cause respiratory depression and coma and the combined cardiovascular effects of multiple psychostimulants are highlighted. A management protocol is provided for acute polysubstance use presentations.

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