Speedball is a formulation of illegal drugs composed of a combination of cocaine and heroin. Cocaine acts as a stimulant, while heroin is a depressant. In other words, these two drugs have opposite effects on your brain and body. Many drug users believe that combining a stimulant with a depressant will cancel out each other’s ill effects, but this is not true. In fact, these two drugs taken together produce more intense effects.
The practice of “speedballing” often involves injecting both heroin and cocaine into the bloodstream directly. In some cases, the substances are snorted together. Some users who perform speedballing mention that they get a more intense and longer-lasting high than if they took only heroin or cocaine.
Using both drugs at the same time produces more dangerous effects on the body. This also makes treatment more complex. If you happen to have an addiction to speedball, recovery is still possible. Read on to find what speedball addiction treatments you can get.
What are the components of Speedball?
Speedball is a combination of two illicit drugs – heroin and cocaine. These drugs are complete opposites, as the former is a depressant while the latter is a stimulant.
Heroin is classified as an opioid, and other drugs in this family include morphine and fentanyl. Opioids are commonly used as prescription painkillers, but they have addictive potential, especially when misused. One particularly damaging effect of heroin is known as respiratory depression, a condition where your breathing slows down. In extreme cases, this can lead to respiratory failure, which is fatal.
Conversely, cocaine is classified as a stimulant. It produces increased energy, heart rate, breathing, and heightened alertness, among other effects. These are the exact opposites of what heroin does.
Why is speedball more dangerous?
When cocaine and heroin are taken together, the negative side effects amplify each other. Cocaine’s stimulant effects cause you to breathe faster and increase the oxygen demand of your body. On the other hand, heroin slows down your breathing rate, which prevents your body from getting the additional oxygen it needs. In turn, your lungs, heart, and brain will be stressed out, eventually causing damage.
Adding to the risk is the fact that heroin’s effects wear down more quickly than cocaine. To maintain the high, some users may choose to inject speedballs more often than if they take heroin or cocaine individually.
What are the side effects of speedball?
The negative effects of combining cocaine and heroin mainly affect the brain. In effect, you may experience these symptoms:
- Blurry vision
- Confusion or incoherent thoughts
- Uncontrollable movements
- Depression (in some cases)
- Mania (in some cases)
Speedball also produces damaging effects to critical organs like the heart, lungs, and liver. The side effects can even trigger potentially fatal side effects such as:
- Heart attack
- Respiratory failure
The negative side effects of speedball can vary per individual. It depends on factors like:
- Medical history
- Mental health status
- Frequency of speedball use
- Purity of cocaine and heroin used
- Presence of additives in the heroin and cocaine used
- Method of intake
Moreover, combining heroin and cocaine amplifies their side effects. In turn, you are at a much higher risk of overdose when speedballing. Overdose can be fatal as well.
What can I do if I have a speedball addiction?
If you have developed an addiction to speedball, do not lose hope. Recovery is possible through various treatments available in drug rehab centers.
The first step to recovery is to recognize and admit that you have a substance use problem. With that, you are not only aware of the issue, but you will have the motivation to get your drug-free life back. The more you accept that the addiction is negatively affecting many aspects of your life, the more you will want to change.
Once you have decided to get professional help, it’s good to know that recovery comes in stages. Here are the steps you will go through in a formal speedball addiction treatment program.
The first goal of treatment is to flush out all traces of cocaine and heroin from your body. This is where medically-assisted detox comes in. Doctors and medical personnel will assist and monitor your progress, and they may give you helpful medications in case you develop any withdrawal symptoms. At the end of the detox process, your body should be able to tolerate taking no drugs at all.
The next stage of treatment involves addressing the mental and emotional effects of speedball. Various behavioral therapies can be employed for this purpose, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, and many others. These therapies can either be done in an outpatient or an inpatient setting.
Outpatient vs. inpatient treatment
Outpatient programs do not require you to stay inside a rehab facility for the entire duration of treatment. But in cases of multiple drug use like speedball addiction, outpatient therapy usually does not provide the best outcomes. In most cases of speedball addiction treatment, inpatient programs are recommended.
When you are enrolled in an inpatient treatment program, you will live in a rehab facility for one to three months. The duration of your treatment program will depend on the severity of your addiction.
In inpatient rehab, you can focus on your journey to recovery. There will be no distractions or temptations to use drugs inside the rehab center. You will be given a strict daily schedule mostly composed of therapy activities. There will be individual and group therapies, as well as recreational activities. All of these are designed to build healthy habits and give you alternatives to drug use. Eventually, you may pick up a new hobby, like a sport, which will drive you away from the desire to use drugs. At the end of the inpatient treatment program, you will be equipped to live a sober life once again.