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What is a Speedball and Why Is It Incredibly Dangerous?

Combining drugs is a dangerous and potentially deadly issue called polysubstance abuse. One of the more well-known drug combinations is called a speedball—a mixture of heroin and cocaine. Using speedballs increases the risks of complications associated with substance abuse.

Buckhead Behavioral Health in Atlanta, Georgia, offers addiction treatment programs for several illicit substances, including cocaine and heroin. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, visit our admissions page today to learn more about treatment.

What is a Speedball?

A speedball is a combination of cocaine and heroin. This combines the stimulating effects of cocaine with the sedative effects of heroin. Other drugs are sometimes substituted, such as using crystal meth as the stimulant and other opioids, like fentanyl, instead of heroin.

Thus, users get the stimulating rush of cocaine while also getting the euphoria and relaxation from heroin. Some users combine these drugs to negate the adverse side effects of each. In other words, they believe the combination of stimulants and depressants helps to cancel out negative effects.

However, combining heroin and cocaine, or other similar drugs, can be dangerous and even deadly.

What Makes a Speedball So Dangerous?

Cocaine and heroin abuse on their own is dangerous enough. However, combining them can amplify the negative effects. The following are reasons why using speedballs is incredibly dangerous:

  • Added strain on the cardiovascular system, which can lead to heart palpitations, hypertension, or troubled breathing—you could even have a heart attack
  • Increased risk of medical complications like seizures or coma
  • Higher risk of overdose
  • Increased risk of physical injury while under the influence of both drugs
  • Mental health issues, like anxiety, paranoia, and confusion
  • More likely to develop a substance use disorder due to this potent combination of drugs

Overall, speedballs exacerbate the negative effects of both drugs. Thus, this puts you at a higher risk of medical issues, mental health problems, and developing an addiction.

Speedballs and Polysubstance Abuse

Using speedballs is a type of polysubstance abuse. Polysubstance abuse occurs when users intentionally mix substances for the combined effect. As a result, they increase the risks of developing addiction or other mental disorders and also increase the risk of medical issues.

Sometimes, users combine similar substances to enhance the effects of each. For instance, someone might drink alcohol with sleeping pills to increase the sedative effects of both. However, with speedballs, users are trying to get the opposing effects of both drugs.

Regardless of how or why, polysubstance abuse is a dangerous practice. Not only does it increase the chances of addiction, but it puts you at a higher risk of overdose and death. Fortunately, polysubstance abuse can be treated by combining elements of treatment for each substance of addiction.

How is Polysubstance Abuse Treated?

Polysubstance abuse complicates addiction treatment because you need to treat more than addiction. However, at Buckhead Behavioral Health, we offer treatment programs that address several types of addiction. We’ll help you find a pathway to recovery with a treatment plan that addresses your unique needs.

In regards to speedball addiction, you can benefit by treating both cocaine and heroin addiction at the same time. This can include some of the following:

  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): MAT programs combine FDA-approved medications with behavioral therapy to treat alcohol and opioid addiction. Since speedballs combine heroin (or other opioids) with cocaine, MAT can help you manage opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduce your risk of accidental overdose or relapse.
  • Dual-Diagnosis Treatment: Since polysubstance abuse increases your chances of developing mental health issues, treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders is the best approach to treat both. In turn, mental health disorders are often the underlying cause of addiction. Thus, many addiction treatment centers also treat dual-diagnosis disorders.
  • Holistic Therapy: Polysubstance abuse can impact several aspects of your health and well-being. Holistic approaches can nurture you back to health—physically, mentally, and spiritually.
  • Psychotherapy: Many addiction treatment programs involve several forms of group therapy, like process groups and psychoeducational instruction. However, at Buckhead Behavioral Health, you also get weekly individual therapy sessions.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment in Atlanta

The above-mentioned services and several others are part of our outpatient treatment programs. Our clients progress through varying levels of care to ensure that are ready to take the next steps in their recovery. The following are the levels of care that we offer at Buckhead:

  • Detox: Detox programs help you safely manage withdrawal symptoms from all substances. If you use speedballs, you will deal with the withdrawal symptoms of both cocaine and heroin.
  • Partial Hospitalization Program: A partial hospitalization program (PHP) is what most people attend after inpatient rehab. During PHP, you don’t live in the same facility as you get treatment. However, you will spend the majority of your day in the program working on relapse prevention, coping skills, and treating underlying mental health issues.
  • Intensive Outpatient Program: After PHP, you can step down to an intensive outpatient program (IOP). IOP programs are more flexible and allow you to resume other responsibilities while still getting a significant amount of treatment.
  • Standard Outpatient Rehab: Many people continue with some type of outpatient rehab after their IOP program. This can be a weekly therapy session—whether as a group, one-to-one, or a combination.
  • Alumni Program: Our alumni program keeps you connected to your recovery with special events and meetings. You can also speak to others beginning their recovery journey to inspire them to continue.

Get Help for Cocaine and Heroin Addiction Today

Combing cocaine and heroin—also called a speedball—can lead to addiction and other issues. But there is hope for recovery. At Buckhead Behavioral Health, we offer treatment programs to help you overcome both cocaine and heroin addiction.

Contact us today to begin treatment.

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