You may have heard of speedball before. It’s been a pretty popular drug of choice in the last few decades, it’s even been the demise of celebrities such as John Belushi and Chris Farely.
But what exactly is speedball? Why is it so appealing to partygoers, and just how dangerous is this drug?
Below we’ll talk about everything you need to know about speedball, and why it’s so dangerous, even if it’s used sparingly.
What is Speedball Made Out Of?
A speedball is a mixture of heroin and cocaine, each of which is incredibly potent on their own. Speedballs can be snorted, but they are often injected into the bloodstream to intensify the "rush."
The interaction between the two drugs is what makes a speedball different from your typical drug high. Both heroin and cocaine are intended to produce extreme euphoria when used at the same time.
Cocaine is a stimulant that usually leads to euphoria and increased energy. Physically, it increases the heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature of your body. Often the results are instantaneous and can last from five to 90 minutes.
On the other hand, heroin is a depressant. Like cocaine, it causes euphoria, although the side effects delay the movement of your body rather than speeding it. Most people who use heroin experience slower heart rate decreased breathing.
Cocaine and heroin are both very dangerous individually, but when they’re combined, it provides an intense rush and a high that combines the effects of both drugs to create a pleasant feeling. Word on the street is that both the stimulant and the depressant cancel each other out and neutralize the negative side effects of each drug.
The side effects of each of them can potentially be compounded by adding stimulants and depressants, overshadowing the high. The most common side effects of both are general confusion, incoherence, blurred vision, and anxiety, all of which can completely show themselves during a combined high.
Overdoses Are Likely to Happen
The desired result of eliminating the negative side effects while enjoying the high is sometimes achieved and the side effects are minimized. Despite side effects, however, users can mistakenly believe that they are not that high or have a higher tolerance. A false sense of security also leads to duplication of dosage and eventually overdose. In 2015, 63% of cocaine-related overdose deaths involved an opioid, especially heroin.
The response time to the combination of drugs is another dangerous aspect of using speedball. Cocaine wears off quicker than heroin, resulting in an increased reaction to heroin after the high from cocaine has gone. The most common side effect when this happens is respiratory failure.
Even if the mixture of heroin and cocaine is something you can handle, there are still other risks in a speedball. Speedball is normally not only a hit of cocaine and heroin, as other street drugs or adulterants are often mixed in.
For example, a recent trend for speedball users includes tainting this cocktail with fentanyl, which is part of an opioid class that can be between 50 and potentially thousands of times stronger than heroin itself. Even if the infamous toxicity of this drug does not contribute to overdosing, it often causes intense sedation. That's leading people to look for stimulants to just remain alive when they get high, researchers and users said— a new pattern of DIY cocktail drug use with alarming health implications in the midst of an already-deadly opioid crisis.
The use of fentanyl alone has risen exponentially in recent years, and has proved to be extremely dangerous. In 2011, fentanyl and related drugs were identified in about 1,600 overdose deaths nationwide. But in 2018, provisional figures from the CDC suggest these substances may have killed over 30,000 people. As of 2016, fentanyl was the drug most commonly linked to overdoses in America.
At the same time, cocaine and meth overdoses are also skyrocketing—and these deaths typically involve at least one opioid as well. For example, 41 percent of cocaine overdoses also included fentanyl in 2016. And the more recent data shows the number of overdose deaths involving cocaine is equal to the number involving heroin, even exceeding that for prescription opioids.
Where You Can Seek Help for Drug Use, Speedballs or Otherwise
It’s clear that speedball use is very dangerous, despite this, it still remains to be a popular drug of choice for many. If you or a loved one need help recovering from the combination of heroin and cocaine use, give Shadow Mountain Recovery a call today. We have experienced staff that can help combat addiction to any drug, and we specialize in holistic treatment to treat the mind, body, and spirit.
If you or a loved one needs an individualized treatment plan to help with meth addiction, call Shadow Mountain Recovery today: 866-768-9790