Heroin Speedball

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What is Heroin Speedball?

What is a speedball? The term heroin speedball is commonly used for combining two different types of drugs: an opioid and a stimulant. The term “speedball” is specifically heroin and cocaine—both forceful, illegal drugs that are dangerous on their own, let alone used together.

A Powerful Mix That Can Lead to Severe Consequences

What is a speedball? Speedball is a potent mix that can lead to severe consequences for those who try it even once. People who struggle with drug abuse and addiction often spend time looking for the next high, hoping it will be fulfilling and sensational than the last. Occasionally, to reach this ultimate high, they can mix one or more substances. In other situations, they can combine drugs to remove the edge of one or the other substance.

While getting the high they desire, they are set on experiencing both the individual impact of each drug and the potentially dangerous side effects of their interaction. The result can be acute mental and/or physical harm, overdose, or even death.

Elements of a Speedball

What is a speedball, and what are the elements? Some people will mix their own “speedball” by substituting other drugs, with combinations that might include incorporating:

  • Methamphetamine and amphetamine also called “goofballs”
  • Opioid painkillers to replace heroin

As with speedball, heroin and cocaine are mixed and injected in one shot, which results in a rapid onset of intense effects. The National Institute on Drug Abuse once stated that people might take speedball to experience an intense level of pleasure that intensifies the euphoria and reduces each drug’s negative impact.

What Heroin Speedball Feels Like

The substance cocaine is a stimulant, and heroin is a depressant, and taking both of them together has a push-pull reaction. When combined, they offer an intense rush while canceling out the adverse effects of the other. Heroin theoretically is intended to alleviate cocaine-induced anxiety and jitters.

On the other hand, cocaine is meant to dampen some of the sedative effects of heroin, so you are not nodding off. This symbiotic relationship is said to make it easier and more pleasurable to come down. Circumstantial research online shows that most people genuinely feel a greater rush when speedball than they do when they use coke or heroin on their own; people report loving the effect.

Impacts of the Combination

  • Although the cumulative psychological effects of heroin and cocaine may differ from person to person, at the neurochemical level, the combination’s reinforcing effects are likely to be higher than any single substance administered alone.
  • The mixture entails both opioid receptor activation-related release of dopamine and cocaine-directed rises in dopamine production in key brain regions resulting in an incredibly powerful stimulating impact that compels people to inject this mix of drugs over and over.
  • This can be extremely dangerous as even one speedball injection can be fatal for several reasons. There are multiple significant dangers involved with the heroin/cocaine mix.

How Does Heroin Effect Cocaine Toxicity?

Combining cocaine and heroin into a speedball usually causes complications, as evidenced by the high profile cases of actors in the 1980s and 1990s.  When speedballing, heroin is injected or snorted, followed directly by cocaine smoking. The effects of heroin last longer than those of crack, and it modulates symptoms secondary to crack withdrawal. In these cases, the second drug is not used as a substitute but rather to supplement the primary drug.

Persons addicted to crack can also use heroin to dampen the stress induced by repeated use. Body packers — smugglers who use their GI tract as a hiding place for large amounts of carefully packed cocaine packages — often use a similar strategy.

Risks of Use

Speedballers may experience the adverse side effects of both drugs including:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Hypertension
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Trouble thinking or speaking clearly
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Stupor

The combination may be fatal. Speedball users have died from:

  • Stroke
  • Aneurysm
  • Heart attack
  • Fatal respiratory depression

One of the critical hazards associated with the use of speedball is the fact that the effect of cocaine wears off faster than heroin. As a result, if a person uses much more heroin than their body can handle, they can experience an overdose of opioids and respiratory failure as stimulating effects of cocaine.

What Are the Long-Term Impacts of Speedball?

The cumulative risk of overdose is a big concern for those who continuously inject speedball. Some potential long-term impacts of infusing heroin and cocaine, however, including but not restricted to:

  • Abscesses, cellulite, and/or necrosis of the tissue caused by the injection
  • Contracting HIV or other diseases transmitted by blood via an injection
  • Vascular inflammation and blood vessel clogging from injected particles
  • Anorexia and malnutrition
  • Ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke
  • Damages to ischemic organs
  • GI-Tract ulcerations
  • Afflictions to the kidneys and liver
  • Heart muscle Inflammation
  • Ruptures in the Aortic
  • Heart Attack
  • Seizures
  • Permanent cognitive impairments
  • Increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease
  • Problems with impulsivity
  • Addiction

Treatment and Recovery

People who routinely misuse either heroin or cocaine will find challenging ways to heal until they attempt to fix their issues. Someone who usually has mixed both medications will undergo a more difficult recovery process due to these medications’ combination.

Typically, the combined effects of using these drugs are more significant than the effects of using either drug alone. The combined effects of trying to recover from chronic use of most combinations of more than one drug abuse also follow the same principle.

Combination of Both Heroin and Cocaine

Chronic combination of both drugs will lead to a complicated development of physical dependency on both drugs. Individuals will quickly gain immunity to both substances, which will cause an increase in the volume of the medication used to trigger their results. When tolerance increases, the potential for withdrawal also grows.

Withdrawal From Cocaine

Withdrawal from cocaine is typically more mental and psychological. Individuals experience extreme depression, apathy, lethargy, motivational problems, sleepiness, increased appetite, and physical effects, such as sweating, irregular heartbeat, jitteriness, etc. Withdrawal from heroin can produce significant mood swings, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, headache, and insomnia. Emotional effects may occur, such as depression, anxiety, and hallucinations, in rare cases.

Heroin Detox

The first step for treating anyone who has used these drugs is detox. This will be to include a medically supported plan involving opioid replacement medication to relieve withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal is usually treated with benzodiazepines. The actual medication used in any case will depend on the type of symptoms seen.

The medications will be administered on a tapering schedule, with the dosage decreased overtime to wean the person off the drug as their withdrawal symptoms decreased. An inpatient program will be superior to an outpatient program.

Relapse is a Problem in the Beginning

Relapse is a problem at any point in the recovery process. It is especially crucial in the early stage of detox. Merely addressing the withdrawal syndrome associated with the recovery and not taking part in the treatment and aftercare program will almost ensure that the individual relapses rather quickly.

A person in early recovery should begin to receive therapy, like residential or outpatient treatment at Resurgence. Support group participation, support from friends and family, etc. while undergoing addiction treatment will also be important.

Heroin Addiction Treatment at Resurgence

Our addiction specialists are here to help. We will work with you to create a plan for treatment that meets your individual goals and addiction. We offer a full range of treatment from 24-hour care in our residential programs to the Outpatient program once you are ready.

You can progress at your pace at our drug rehab center. Call us today to get started with a free insurance verification to determine what your insurance will cover. If you do not have insurance, we can work with you to get the help you need.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.