Whether you’ve seen the signs of it in a loved one, or you’ve just recently heard about it, it’s important to know about what Speedball is and how it works. By understanding it, you can be better equipped to help your loved one who may be suffering and be a powerful part of their journey to recovery.
What is Speedball?
Speedball is a combination of both heroin and cocaine. These are both illegal drugs, and alone they are already dangerous. Together, they become something even worse. Heroin is an opioid that comes from morphine. Cocaine comes from the coca plant.
Normally, on its own, heroin’s side effects include nausea, vomiting, slowed heart rate, and slowed breathing. When an overdose occurs, it can cause a person to slow their breathing so much that they actually suffocate.
When it comes to cocaine, it tends to do the opposite of heroin. As opposed to heroin’s slowing down of things like heart rate, cocaine can cause an increased heart rate, and even paranoia and muscle spasms.
How Does It Work?
Speedball, which is also called powerball, can be injected or snorted. When injected, it’s claimed to further increase the rush that comes from directly injecting it into the bloodstream as opposed to having it absorbed slower through snorting.
The idea behind it is to create an even greater sense of euphoria than the two drugs could achieve separately. Regarding, their side effects, the idea was that their opposing effects would cancel each other out, leaving only the good feeling. However, this is hardly the case.
It gets even worse actually when the drugs do seemingly cancel out the other side effects. Usually, when this happens, the euphoria also gets cancelled out. This can lead to overdose as the user attempts to get that euphoric feeling again. In other cases, the side effects actually get amplified one way or the other, overwhelming the euphoria, which can also lead to overdose. And even when a high is achieved, that doesn’t mean the side effects have gone away or were canceled out. Many have been observed to show confusion and paranoia even when they’re having a high.
Again, even if the user isn’t feeling the side effects, they can still be there. Because of the presence of heroin, overdosing can still lead to the user dying from suffocation amongst other causes of death such as heart attack. This is also caused by the fact that cocaine wears off quicker than heroin, leading to the heroin effects often overwhelming the user.
It is important to be aware that there is now a new, even stronger opioid-based drug out there that is like heroin but even more dangerous: Fentanyl. Currently, there are variations of Speedball containing this new, more potent opioid, and it has accounted for thousands of deaths since at least 2015.
Withdrawal and Recovery
Long-term use of Speedball can lead to even more problems, from a suppressed immune system to hemorrhagic stroke. If you have a loved one that has fallen into substance abuse, it is important to help them seek recovery before long-term effects set in, and battle the effects of withdrawal. Relapse is always a possibility, and often a former user will need frequent support to maintain their will to continue their medicinal and therapy treatment. It is also important to note that while there are drugs to help treat opioid addiction, there are no FDA-approved drugs for cocaine addiction, making the recovery from Speedball all the harder.