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What Is Speedballing?

what is speedballing

Two of the more popular substances that are misused or used illicitly are opioids and stimulants. Using these substances long-term or illicitly when not required can lead to dependence and substance use disorders. Another popular misuse of these substances is called speedballing. Read on to get an answer to the question, “What is speedballing?”

What Are Stimulants?

Stimulants are substances that help increase focus, energy levels, and brain activity. There are prescription stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall. There are also illegal stimulants, like meth and cocaine. Misusing stimulants can cause feelings of euphoria and happiness.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids consist of synthetically made and naturally made depressants. Opiates are naturally made from poppy plants and include morphine, codeine, opium, and heroin. Synthetically made opioids include fentanyl, hydrocodone, and oxycodone.

Opioids slow down body functions and mask pain by inhibiting pain receptors. They also cause an increase in dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. People who misuse opioids can feel calm, relaxed, and euphoric.

What Is Speedballing?

Speedballing is the term used when someone mixes opioids and stimulants and takes them simultaneously. For example, one popular speedball combination is mixing heroin and cocaine together. The powder can be snorted or turned into a liquid and injected.

What Does Speedballing Do?

When someone mixes stimulants with opioids, they often do so to experience heightened effects of both substances. For example, they want to experience a more intense euphoric state since both substances can cause euphoria. However, there can be undesirable side effects, such as:

  • Decreased Respiration Rate
  • Increased Blood Pressure
  • Paranoia
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Accidental Overdose
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Coma
  • Death

Why Is Speedballing Dangerous?

Speeding balling is dangerous because someone is using a stimulant with opioids. The effects of the drugs can counteract each other. As a result, it may not feel like either drug is working. Unfortunately, this often results in taking more of one or both substances to achieve the desired effects.

Furthermore, the more often someone speedballs, the more their body builds a tolerance to stimulants and opioids. Therefore, they will have to use more of both substances when speedballing. As you can imagine, the risk of accidentally overdosing increases significantly. For example, when someone uses cocaine, their body requires more oxygen. However, when they also use opioids, they cause the body’s respiration rate to slow down. As you can see, this is a highly potentially deadly combination.

In addition, the effects of cocaine are fast-acting and usually wear off within an hour or two. Yet, when cocaine is mixed with opioids, the effects may seem like they wear off much faster, even though they have not. This causes the person to take another dose of cocaine or an even larger one, which can lead to an overdose or death.

Why Speedballing Is Becoming Deadly

In recent years, speedballing has become more deadly. Many illegal drug manufacturers and suppliers are mixing fentanyl with stimulants and opioids to enhance their effects. Fentanyl is a man-made opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin.

It takes just two milligrams of fentanyl to cause an overdose and die. Sadly, when people speedball, they do not know if the stimulants and opioids they are mixing have fentanyl in them. Unfortunately, they could take a lethal dosage of fentanyl and not even realize it until it is too late. To give you an idea of how much two milligrams are, it is the equivalent of five grains of salt.

Is Speedballing the Same as Polysubstance Use?

Polysubstance use, also called polydrug use, is where someone mixes two or more types of substances together. While speedballing is one type of polysubstance use, it is not the only type. Furthermore, some people may have a preferred substance, such as stimulants or opioids, and then mix other substances indiscriminately with their preferred substance. However, other people do not have a preferred substance and will mix a wide variety of different drug combinations.

Additionally, polydrug use can involve more than two substances. For example, someone could mix alcohol with cocaine and opioids. Regardless of the substances being combined, polysubstance use is very dangerous and can lead to accidental overdose and death.

How Are Speedballing Use Disorders Treated?

Speedballing use disorders are treated similarly to other substance use disorders. When someone wants to stop speedballing, they need to go through detox at a medical detox center. During detox, the person can experience withdrawal symptoms from both the stimulant and opioid drugs they were using.

Therefore, medically-supervised detox is required to ensure the individual can safely detox from the substances. In addition, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be appropriate to help lessen the more intense and severe withdrawal symptoms.

Speedballing Detox Treatment in Pompano Beach, FL

Taking the first steps to get help with your speedballing use disorder begins with medically supervised detox at DCF and Joint Commission-accredited Retreat of Broward in Pompano Beach, FL. Our medical detox center offers personalized detox treatment programs tailored to your specific needs. Contact us today to start your detox treatment in a safe, supportive, and caring environment.

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