Deadly drug cocktails

​A new first-of-its kind website helps youth and healthcare professionals/partners understand the risks of mixing prescription medications, alcohol and other drugs.

The DrugCocktails.ca website was funded by BC Mental Health & Addiction Services (BCMHAS), an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). It was developed in partnership with researchers from BCMHAS, BC Children’s Hospital Pharmacy Department and Youth Health Program, PHSA, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the University of Ottawa.

DrugCocktails.ca expands on the 2002 BC print publication “Cocktails” by adding over 80 new medications and creating separate interactive versions for: 1) youth, providing practical plain language warnings and information; and 2) health care professionals and counselors working with youth, providing detailed medical information underlying the warnings.

Youth and professionals can type a medication name into the website, and learn the risks of combining that medication with any of 10 substance categories such as alcohol, marijuana and various street drugs. The website is harm reduction-focused, intuitive and easy- to-use. Warning icons that indicate:

  • Serious Risk of Harm
  • Think First
  • Unknown Dangers

“No one can be certain how a person will react when medications are mixed with other substances, often we just don’t know, but we do know that youth who take prescription medications sometimes still experiment with substance use,” said Dr. Dean Elbe, Project Researcher, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, BCMHAS.

“There is no green light here—it is never safe to arbitrarily mix medications and substances. DrugCocktails.ca provides information and highlights risks to help youth make safer, informed choices and contributes to improved health literacy among youth.”


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