Almost 25% of all non-fatal opioid overdoses in Arizona in 2021 involved the person having at least 2 drugs in their system at the same time. This is out of 50,000 total opioid-related emergency visits that occurred that year in our state. Over 7% of these overdoses occurred with benzodiazepines being detected in the person’s system as well. With this information in mind, you might wonder how often an overdose occurs. Is it safe to take benzodiazepines and opioids together? Xanax and heroin fall into this combination category, with Xanax being a form of benzodiazepine and heroin being a type of opioid.
Pinnacle Peak Recovery, located here in Scottsdale, is concerned about our community and how we can best serve them. As the study we linked above shows, opioid use and emergency visits due to opioid use have increased over the past year. We want to continue to offer information regarding substance use and how it impacts health to our clients and the community members around us. Let’s talk more about Xanax, heroin, and how they can impact you when taken together.
What is Polysubstance Use?
Polysubstance use is when someone is partaking in more than one substance, or drug, at the same time. This can mean either taking them together or taking them both within a short timeframe. Polysubstance use isn’t always intentional, either. This can also include when someone takes a substance that is laced with another substance without their knowledge or consent.
If someone is taking both Xanax and heroin, they’re participating in polysubstance use. The xanax side effects you might experience from polysubstance use will vary depending on what substances you’re taking, their dosages, and some other key factors as well. Some factors include metabolism, history of substance use, age, and even weight and height.
Signs of Xanax Addiction
Xanax is one of the brand-name medications for alprazolam, a benzodiazepine. It’s a short-acting benzo that’s primarily prescribed for anxiety, seizure disorders, and sleep disorders. Even those who take Xanax as prescribed are at risk for experiencing withdrawal when they stop taking it. As cravings are a large part of Xanax withdrawal, this can lead to developing a cycle of consumption, where you continue to take Xanax in order to stave off withdrawal.
If you find that you cannot stop taking Xanax without experiencing cravings, vertigo, panic attacks, cramps, nausea, or even hallucinations – you might have a benzodiazepine use disorder.
Signs of Heroin Addiction
Heroin is an illegal opioid that’s made from morphine. It’s often taken via injection, snorting, or smoking. Over time, there are both short-term and long-term side effects a person might experience. If you notice any of these symptoms, you might have a heroin use disorder.
The short-term effects are usually felt during, or not long after, someone partakes in heroin. They usually do not persist for long periods of time. Some of the more common short-term side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Flushed skin
- Your limbs feeling heavy
- Foggy thoughts
- Nausea and vomiting
For those who’ve been partaking in heroin for longer, there are side effects that can develop over time. These can go away with ceased use, but some might need additional treatment in order to properly address them. The long-term effects of substance use can potentially alter your life.
- Development of abscesses
- Collapsed veins
- Lung complications (including pneumonia)
- Liver and kidney disease
- Stomach cramps
- Infection in your heart lining and valves
- Sexual dysfunction
- Irregular menstrual cycles
Is It Dangerous to Mix Xanax and Heroin?
Both Xanax and heroin are depressants. This means they tend to slow down your body in some fashion, usually in areas regarding the brain and how messages are sent around your body. This is helpful when utilized properly, such as for managing panic attacks.
When we take any substance, it takes a specific amount of time for our body to properly process and metabolize it. If you put more substances in your body before it finishes processing the last medication taken, this can overwhelm your system. When this happens, overdoses can occur.
The Risks of Mixing Xanax and Heroin
When you take two or more of the same type of substance, this can amplify the effects of both of them. Because Xanax and heroin are both depressants, this means lowered reaction time, slowed breathing, and even a slowed heart rate. All of this is the perfect storm for a potential overdose.
When someone overdoses on benzodiazepines by themselves, they’re rarely fatal, but polysubstance overdoses come with a higher risk. Let’s talk more about what you can look out for to spot an overdose.
Signs of a Xanax and Heroin Overdose
Knowing the signs of an overdose can help you prevent it from becoming fatal. There are steps you can take to help assist someone who is experiencing an overdose.
Here are some of the common symptoms of a Xanax/heroin overdose:
- Slowed or labored breathing
- Weakened pulse
- Slowed reaction time
If you notice these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, call for medical help. In addition, there are medications such as Naloxone that can help reverse an opioid overdose. There are locations in Arizona where you can get free Naloxone.
Getting Help For Xanax and Heroin Addiction in Arizona
Starting the road to recovery from substance use can seem daunting, but our compassionate team here at Pinnacle Peak Recovery is ready to help. Our team is full of licensed, medical professionals who are committed to your life-long success. We believe in patient-centered, evidence-based care that’s driven by our values. We offer a safe environment with a family feel for you or your loved ones to begin your healing journey.
We offer everything from detox and MAT (medication-assisted treatment) to inpatient and outpatient services. Our MAT program can help you manage withdrawal symptoms from opioids so you can focus on your recovery.
We understand that not every client who walks through the door has the same story to tell or road they need to walk to reach their healing goals. That’s why we offer both 12-step options and evidence-based treatment programs to help you find something that best fits your recovery needs. We also understand that being connected to care, even after you leave our facility, can be imperative for long-term recovery. That’s why we also work on maintaining contact and assisting you post-discharge.
If you have any questions about our benzo treatment options or want to know how to get started, feel free to give us a call. Our number is 866-377-4761 and our staff is always ready to help you.
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FAQs About Xanax and Heroin
What happens when you mix benzo and opioids?
Combining two depressants can double their effects. Because benzos and opioids are both depressants, this can lead to a much slower heart rate or breathing rate, which can be dangerous.
How long should you wait to take Xanax after taking heroin?
Ideally, you shouldn’t take these two substances close together at all. While there is no safe level of drug use, the amount of time it takes for heroin to leave your system will vary depending on dosage, metabolism, and what other substances were in your system when you took it.