What is a Speedball?

what is a speedball, person wearing a hoodie sitting on beach looking out at sunrise/sunset

What is a Speedball?

By Lakeview Health
Lakeview Health
Author Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson is a therapist at Lakeview Health. He earned his bachelor’s in political science from Middle Tennessee State University and a... read more

Published: February 25, 2021

A speedball takes two dangerous drugs and mixes them into a type of cocktail drug. Those who do speedballs may need treatment like at a heroin addiction treatment center in Jacksonville, FL, such as Lakeview Health. Before asking are speedballs dangerous, it’s important to understand what they are and why they are popular. What is a speedball?

What is a Speedball?

A speedball is a mix of a stimulant like cocaine and an opioid such as heroin or morphine. It is typically taken as an injection or snorted. The combination of the two, stimulant and depressant, can create an intense euphoric rush, sometimes called a push-pull.

Opioid use can come with adverse side effects like depressed breathing and sleepiness. Stimulants like cocaine, on the other hand, can create anxiety and raise your heart rate.

With a speedball, the negatives cancel one another out. That leaves only the rush, which is one reason they are so popular.

A speedball is one of the most dangerous drug combinations around. When asking are speedballs dangerous, you only need to look at the news. They are associated with the deaths of some well-known celebrities such as:

  • Comedians John Belushi and Chris Farley
  • Actors River Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • UK artist Sebastian Horsely
  • Major League Baseball player Eric Snow

What Makes a Speedball So Dangerous?

It’s not enough to ask what is a speedball. You also need to have an understanding of why they are dangerous. It has to do with getting the right balance of both drugs.

Speedballs rely on the stimulant and the depressant to cancel each other’s negative or dangerous side effects out. For that to work, you have to take just the right mixture of each so they both end at the same time.

If the depressant ends before the stimulant, you take the risk of having a heart attack. Your heart rate may suddenly jump, shocking the cardiac system. Your blood pressure may become very high, too, putting you at risk of a stroke.

The risk of this grows if you have another condition such as heart disease, a weak blood vessel, or high blood pressure. These are medical problems people don’t always know they have, so when they do the speedball, they are already at a disadvantage.

The reverse is true, too. If the stimulant ends before the depressant, you can stop breathing. Opioids such as heroin slow down (depress) your breathing. If you also take the stimulant, it will increase your breathing, so it balances out. If the stimulant effect ends suddenly, you may stop breathing altogether. With the increase of street fentanyl, overdoses from speedballs are becoming more common, too.

How You Get Addicted

You may become addicted to either of the substances in the speedball. Of the two, opioids are the most addictive. Someone who feels like they have a speedball addiction probably needs to consider treatment for heroin abuse.

Lakeview Health in Florida has a comprehensive addiction program that includes treatment for opioids like heroin. They also offer a dual diagnosis program that treats both addiction and a mental health disorder such as bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety.

At Lakeview Health, you’ll find:

  • Medical detox
  • Residential treatment
  • Impatient services
  • Partial hospitalization
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Aftercare services

Lakeview Health treats the whole person, not just the disease, so they also have medical model integration.

If you or someone you love is doing speedballs, it’s essential to get treatment fast, Give us a call today at 866.704.7692 to talk to one of our addiction specialists. We can help.