Cocaine and heroin are dangerous enough on their own but can have severe consequences when taken together. Knowing street names for certain drug combinations and what signs to look for when someone is abusing illicit substances is vital to recognizing when a person needs help.

If you or a loved one is in need of substance abuse treatment programs in Texas, reach out to Fort Behavioral Health at 844.332.1807 today. Don’t wait to take that first step toward recovery; we are here to help.

What Is Speedball?

“Speedball” is the street name for a combination of cocaine, a stimulant, and heroin which is an opioid depressant. While this can more generally also apply to other mixtures, most speedballs contain these two substances. The cocaine and heroin are either injected or snorted as a powder at the same time.

Mixing stimulants and depressants, or “uppers” and “downers,” seems counter-intuitive, so why do people do it? Some individuals believe that doing both drugs simultaneously will cause them to cancel out each other’s adverse side effects, but this is not true. In reality, they tend to amplify each other’s negative effects and increase the risk of overdose.

Unfortunately, taking the two drugs in tandem also produces a greater high, as the pleasurable effects of each are also amplified. The high is much stronger than that of either drug on its own, and this makes it both popular and highly addictive.

Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant, meaning that it causes hyperactivity as well as feelings of euphoria and unstoppability. People using cocaine may talk fast, go a mile a minute, and have increased stamina. Adverse effects include a rough come-down as the drug leaves the system, paranoia and anxiety, sleeplessness, twitches and tremors, and increased heart rate or blood pressure.

Effects of Heroin

Heroin is an opioid and a depressant, so it makes you tired and calm, whereas cocaine would make you hyper and alert. Heroin can produce a very relaxed and euphoric feeling as well as relieve pain, but its side effects can be severe, and it is easy to overdose. Adverse side effects include decreased heart rate and respiration, nausea and vomiting, nodding out, and potentially even coma or death.

The Dangers of Combining Heroin and Cocaine

Combining heroin and cocaine in a speedball and taking them together is incredibly dangerous. Not only are both substances extremely easy to become addicted to, but each has the opposite effect on the body and brain simultaneously. Side effects can be severe, and one can never plan for exactly which side effects they will feel.

Common and milder side effects of speedball use include:

  • Paranoia and anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • High heart rate and blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Trouble sleeping, insomnia
  • Uncontrollable muscle twitches or tremors

Some of the more severe and life-threatening side effects of a speedball are:

  • Permanent brain damage and cognitive impairment
  • Respiratory problems or failure
  • Heart problems, rapid changes in heart rate, arrhythmia
  • Damage to the liver and kidneys
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Brain aneurysm

It is vital to get a person help when you suspect they may be struggling with drug abuse or polysubstance abuse; taking more than one drug at a time is especially hazardous. The best and safest way to help a person break their addiction is to enroll them in a substance abuse treatment program where they can get the professional and compassionate help and support they need.

Overdose Risk

As cocaine and heroin are both highly addictive and very dangerous on their own, it stands to reason that the overdose risk of a speedball would increase. Heroin makes breathing more difficult, while cocaine makes the body use up more oxygen. When the body and brain aren’t receiving sufficient oxygen, it can be fatal. Symptoms of a speedball overdose may include:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Slowed or labored breathing, trouble breathing at all
  • Inability to move or speak
  • Anxiety
  • High body temperature
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Unresponsiveness

If you suspect someone has overdosed on drugs, call 911 immediately. A treatment plan should go into effect once the person is stable and well enough to enter treatment.

Get Effective Addiction Treatment at Fort Behavioral Health

Addiction can happen to anyone at any time in their life; Fort Behavioral Health is here to help. Our dedicated and professional staff is ready to assist you every step of the way on your recovery journey–all you have to do is reach out. Call us at 844.332.1807 today or fill out Fort Behavioral Health’s online form and let us get back to you.


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