What Is a Speedball?

What Is a Speedball?

A speedball is a mixture of cocaine and heroin

Speedball overdose incidents have been regularly discussed by the media. Speedballs are made by mixing heroin and cocaine to take together via smoking, snorting or injecting them. It is one of the most dangerous drug combinations, because it is extremely addictive, and it can cause death immediately. Heroin is incredibly dangerous on its own, but even more so when combined with cocaine.

Dangers of Speedball Abuse

Many intravenous drugs users try combining heroin and cocaine to inject them simultaneously. Many deaths have occurred from speedball abuse, because of the potent effects the drugs can have. Speedball users are more prone to severe psychopathology when compared to those that just abuse cocaine. They are also more vulnerable to HIV infection, and they lastly struggle more with relapse without treatment. Although speedball use is widespread, the medical community still does not fully understand the interaction between heroin and cocaine.

Heroin is a depressant, and cocaine is a stimulant, so using these drugs together creates a powerful euphoria that is stronger than either drug on its own. People may believe that speedballs reduce negative effects of each drug, like palpitations, hypertension, drowsiness and anxiety. Cocaine affects the sympathetic nervous system, while heroin affects the parasympathetic nervous system, so, when both drugs are used together, the overlap between the nervous systems strains them both. This strain can lead to serious problems in both the brain and organs.

Speedball Overdose Can Be Deadly

Because people think that speedballs suppress the negative effects of both drugs, abusers often believe that they are not as intoxicated as they are, or that they have a higher tolerance than they do. These problems often cause users to misjudge the intake of drugs. Because it is easy to misunderstand the effects of abusing two drugs simultaneously, the chances of a speedball overdose are incredibly high. Most heroin and cocaine deaths are a result of this false belief. Since the stimulant effects of cocaine will wear off quicker than the depressant effects of heroin, there are chances of fatal respiratory depression (an inability to breathe). Cocaine counters the effects of heroin, so users may administer fatally high doses of heroin without feeling its effects until they die. This form of delayed overdose is the most common reason for so many speedball deaths, so it is incredibly dangerous to use these drugs.

A speedball overdose should never be taken lightly. If you or someone you know is a speedball user, call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline now. Our admissions coordinators can help you find a rehab center that suits your unique needs.