Use of Multiple Drugs in Teens: Care Instructions
You have had treatment to help your body get rid of a combination of any of these drugs:
- Prescription medicines
- Over-the-counter medicines
- Illegal drugs
Taking some drugs together may cause a bad reaction. They can have unexpected or stronger effects on your body and mind. For example, opioids and alcohol both depress the nervous system. Taken together, each one is stronger than when it is taken by itself.
You are getting better, but it takes time for the drugs to leave your body. It may take up to 2 weeks or longer for your mind to clear and your mood to improve.
Depending on the drugs you took, the doctor might have:
- Watched your symptoms or done tests to find out what drugs were in your body.
- Treated you to control your breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.
- Tried to remove the drugs from your body by pumping your stomach or giving you a substance by mouth that absorbs chemicals.
- Given you medicines to ease withdrawal.
- Given you oxygen to help you breathe.
- Given you fluids.
The doctor also watched you carefully to make sure you were recovering safely.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Adopt healthy habits to ease withdrawal symptoms. When you use substances like alcohol and some drugs regularly, your body gets used to them. This is called physical dependence. If you are physically dependent on them, you may have withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them. These symptoms may include trembling, feeling restless, and sweating. To help get past these:
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink lots of fluids.
- Stay active.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Drink fluids to soothe a sore throat. If you had a tube in your throat to help you breathe, you may have a sore throat or hoarseness that can last a few days. Drinking fluids may help.
- If you use opioids, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about a take-home naloxone kit. This can be helpful and lifesaving if you took or take too much of an opiate. You can get naloxone without a prescription at most drugstores or through a community Take Home Naloxone program.
Get help to stop using drugs. You may need medical care to manage withdrawal symptoms when you first quit. Withdrawal can be dangerous without medical care. Talk to your doctor about substance use treatment programs.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You feel you cannot stop from hurting yourself or someone else.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have new or worse symptoms of withdrawal, such as trembling, feeling restless, and sweating, that you can't manage at home.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
- You do not get better as expected.
- You need help finding the right place to get help with drug or alcohol problems.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter I459 in the search box to learn more about "Use of Multiple Drugs in Teens: Care Instructions".
Current as of: November 8, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health & Michael F. Bierer MD - Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine & Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine