Speedballing is a term used to describe the simultaneous use of cocaine and heroin. The drugs are most commonly used intravenously, as the strongest effects are achieved. The effects produced by speedballing are a combination of the euphoria of heroin, along with the energy of cocaine.
Cocaine and heroin speedballs are appealing to addicts because it provides the best effects of both drugs, while negating the less desirable effects. The heroin cancels out the anxiety and paranoia created by cocaine, and the cocaine negates the sedation of heroin use. The high is eclectic and unique. The cocaine wears off long before the heroin does, and the user may experience heightened effects from heroin when this happens. Because of the counter-effects of cocaine, the user may inject more heroin than usual, and when the cocaine wears off, the heroin dosage may become damaging or fatal. Speedball dangers include potentially fatal overdose, extremely high addiction rate, and increased long-term effects.
The addiction rate for speedballs is higher than those of heroin and cocaine use. The combined addictive potential of the two drugs is reason enough to stay away from their use. Few studies have been done on the long-term effects of speedballing, but experts agree that there is an increased risk of psychosis, depression, and permanent anxiety disorders.
Speedball use has been commonly associated with overdose, as they are extremely dangerous. The cocaine speeds up the heart rate, and eventually wears off. When it subsides, the heroin takes hold of the heart, and slows it down significantly. The rapid change in heart rate is the most common cause of overdose amongst speedball users. Speedball overdose is often fatal, and many celebrities have died as a result of it. Notable people who have died from speedball overdose are John Belushi, Chris Farley, and River Phoenix.
The first necessary step towards recovery from speedball use is a medical detox. Without a detox, the relapse rates are alarming, and an appropriate facility may substantially lower the chance of relapse. At a speedball detox program, doctors on duty may prescribe medications to ease the discomfort and physical and emotional pain, as well as provide a safe environment for the withdrawing addict. During withdrawal, the strong psychological addiction causes the user to have an intense craving to abuse heroin and cocaine, and a detox can prevent these cravings from occurring.
Although detox is a healthy way to cleanse your body of substances, serious treatment is required for those who truly wish to stay clean and sober. Inpatient treatment facilities provide a secure environment, and helpful treatment methods to keep the speedball addict sober. Through therapy, group counseling, and a plethora of activities designed to teach the person to live sober, inpatient treatment centers help the addict find happiness without drugs.
Many experts recommend ongoing care for the addict, such as twelve step meeting participation, continuing therapy, or attendance of alumni support groups. The presence of continuing care gives the addict people to check in with, as well as a healthy support network to turn to. Some people choose to reside in sober living facilities, where they can remain free from exposure to drugs or alcohol, and learn accountability as they reintegrate into the real world.