What is Speedballing?

Understanding Speedballing and Drug Addiction

Speedballing is a term used when someone mixes heroin and cocaine. It usually involves the two drugs being injected into the bloodstream but they can also be snorted. Heroin is known to slow down breathing and lead to respiratory failure. Cocaine does the opposite and increases your heart rate and energy with rapid breathing. It’s a common misconception that mixing both cocaine and heroin will balance out or cancel each other out for the negative side effects of heroin. 

When looking at the neurobiological effects of taking cocaine and heroin, scientists have found that both substances impact the brain with the release of dopamine. The euphoric state created with cocaine use, blocks the reabsorption of extra dopamine, remaining active longer. This is why it works against the effects of heroin, which depresses the central nervous system. The main cause of death with heroin overdoses is when the effects of the cocaine ingested wears off which happens at a much faster rate than heroin. 

The Science Behind It: Speedballing Drug Interaction

The negative effects of speedballing drug interaction depend on the combination of drugs used, the dosage, and how you administered the drugs. When two drugs are combined, they can create a dangerous chemical effect that overwhelms the body’s central nervous system. In 2019, it was found that 1.6 million people aged 12 or older had used cocaine in the past year. Furthermore, 10.1 million had misused prescription opioids. This rising trend emphasizes the increasing need for solutions like residential drug treatment programs. The interaction of such drugs can also escalate side effects, leading to heart attack, stroke, respiratory failure, coma, and even fatal overdose.

Polysubstance Use Disorder: A Complicated Challenge

Polysubstance use is the consumption of more than one drug at once. This correlates with speedballing because they both happen when someone consumes more than one drug at once and it interacts even more fatally. One main difference is someone might unintentionally be taking more than one drug. This can happen if you have a few glasses of wine and also take prescription medication or medications that technically you can’t consume with alcohol. Some dangers associated with polysubstance use disorder are: 

  • Increased severity of side effects: general side effects are nausea, vomiting, body pain, balance issues, and heart rate changes. 
  • Acute health problems: drug interaction can reduce metabolism, increase blood concentrations of the substances. 
  • Complications due to co-occurring mental health issues: substance misuse increases the symptoms of mental health disorders. 

The Dangers of Speedballing

The combination of heroin and cocaine is much more dangerous than taking the drugs separately which already on their own are dangerous. Heroin and cocaine combined increase the chances of a negative impact on the brain. Some of the dangers and side effects involved with speedballing are: 

  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Paranoia
  • Mental impairment from lack of sleep
  • Uncontrollable movements
  • Stupor

Dangers of Mixing Drugs: A Lethal Cocktail

dangers of speedballing

The most common way people mix drugs is with an opioid and alcohol. Usually, people get opioids because they need them for pain management after going through surgery or having a painful injury that happened to them. When you combine opioids with alcohol, it can cause: 

  • Drowsiness
  • A weak pulse
  • Altered mental status
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Passing out
  • Impaired motor control
  • Damage to the brain and other organ systems

Opioids and alcohol are one of the top highest deadliest drug combinations. Other dangerous combinations are alcohol and benzodiazepines, cocaine and heroin, and alcohol and cocaine. These combinations are considered lethal and known to make people overdose. 

The Effects of Speedballing

There are short-term and long-term effects of speedballing on the body and mind. The main parts of the body’s speedballing effect are the central nervous system and the brain. Some of the side effects of speedballing on the body and someone’s mental health are: 

  • Heart attack
  • Respiratory failure
  • Coma
  • Fatal overdose
  • Stroke
  • Abscesses
  • Anorexia
  • Contracting HIV through injection use
  • Kidney and liver injury
  • Aortic ruptures
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

Seeking Help: Treatment for Speedballing Addiction

The first step to speedballing addiction treatment is detoxing. It’s important to get the drugs out of your body’s system to prevent a future overdose from happening. As with any drug detox, your body will go through withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms are: 

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

After detox, behavioral therapies are recommended for speedballing addiction treatment. As well as getting treatment that entails individual and group therapy, educational classes, recreational activities, twelve-step program meetings, and employment assistance. 

Recovery and Rehabilitation: A Journey to Sobriety

As speedballing addiction is very dangerous and fatal, it’s important for people who suffer from this addiction to seek professional help. WhiteSands Treatment helps patients who suffer from different drug addictions with treatment and rehab. Part of the rehab process is detoxing from the drug or drugs in this case. Part of the detoxing process is having the withdrawal symptoms managed by medical professionals in the facility and giving patients the necessary medications to help with discomfort. After detoxing successfully from cocaine and heroin, patients will start different rehab treatments that fit best for them. WhiteSands Treatment offers medical and holistic treatments for patients. Some of the holistic treatments offered at the facility are yoga, nutritional therapy, and biofeedback. If you or your loved one is suffering from speedball addiction, call WhiteSands Treatment at 8777-640-7820. 


What is speedballing and why is it so dangerous?

Speedballing is when you consume heroin and cocaine in the same amount of time. It’s dangerous because both drugs are already deadly on their own, so combining them to cancel each other’s effects actually makes the side effect much worse. Not only can it increase heart issues and internal damage to other organs, but it can be fatal. 

How does speedballing affect the body and the mind?

Speedballing affects your body and mind by giving you the side effects of heart attack, depression, anxiety, aortic rupture, psychosis, paranoia, and stroke. There’s also the highest chance of overdosing and resulting in death. 

What are the long-term effects of speedballing on a person’s health?

Some of the long-term effects of speedballing are abscesses, contracting HIV via injection use, anorexia, hemorrhagic stroke, kidney and liver injury, and aortic ruptures. 

Why is polysubstance use disorder a significant concern in the context of speedballing?

Polysubstance use disorder is a concern when it comes to speedballing because they both have to do with ingesting more than one drug at a time. Someone could have a polysubstance use disorder that is considered speedballing addiction if they ingest both cocaine and heroin which is a deadly combination. 

Can you explain the term ‘Speedballing Drug Interaction’ and why it poses such a high risk?

A speedballing drug interaction is when you consume opioids and stimulants together. When this interaction happens it can cause fatal changes in heart rate and blood pressure, cardiovascular issues, seizures, or stroke. There’s also increased overdose risk due to stimulants masking the sedative effects of opioids, so someone who has taken both does not realize at the time they are in a life-threatening situation. 

What treatment options are available for individuals struggling with speedballing addiction?

When someone seeks treatment options for their speedballing addiction, they will find the best option of rehab for them. From there the rehab will perform a medical detox from the drugs. WhiteSands Treatment has treatment options that are not just medical but also holistic. Some holistic treatment options are biofeedback, art therapy, and yoga. 

How can awareness and prevention strategies be used to combat speedballing and other forms of drug addiction?

Awareness of prevention strategies can help with combating speedballing by showing the long-term effects the drug interaction has and how it can be fatal to a person. 

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.