Speedball is a mix of the two psychoactive drugs cocaine and heroin, a stimulant and a depressant, respectively. Often, speedball is taken through an intravenous route. The two substances are combined in liquid form and injected straight into the bloodstream. Another method of intake is through snorting the drugs in powder form, but this method produces less intense sensations than direct injection.
Speedball is highly addictive because it combines two illegal drugs at the same time. Contrary to the belief of many users that the opposite effects of the two drugs will cancel each other out, speedball produces more serious negative side effects than just one of the drugs taken alone. It is faster to develop an addiction to speedball than just cocaine or heroin.
If you have become addicted to speedball, a range of treatment options are available. You may enroll in either inpatient or outpatient speedball addiction treatment programs. Read on to find out the difference between the two and which one works better.
What is a speedball?
In the general sense, a speedball is any combination of a depressant and a stimulant. This mixture results in a particularly intense high preferred by a number of drug users. Cocaine and heroin is a common formulation of speedball, but there can be other ingredients as well. Here are some examples of other drug combinations that constitute a speedball:
- Cocaine and alcohol
- Ecstasy and marijuana
- Cocaine and any benzodiazepine (e.g. diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam)
- Xanax and meth
- Alcohol and any amphetamine
Whatever the components are, speedballs are extra potent and highly dangerous. Some medical reports have indicated that even one dose of speedball can trigger addiction.
What does speedball do to your body?
Stimulants like cocaine produce feelings of high energy, increased alertness, and greater levels of activity in the brain and body. If you take cocaine by itself, you will feel as if you can do anything.
On the other hand, depressants like heroin do the opposite. They make you feel more relaxed and calm as they lower the levels of activity in your brain and body. If the depressant component of your speedball is either an opioid, like heroin, or a benzodiazepine, like Xanax, you run the risk of a condition called respiratory depression. In other words, the drug can cause your breathing to slow down considerably.
Combining the effects of a stimulant and a depressant sends confusing signals to your body. On one hand, the stimulant increases your body’s demand for oxygen, owing to the increased levels of activity. On the other hand, the depressant slows down your breathing so your body cannot get the additional oxygen it needs.
The push-pull effect can lead to dangerous, and even fatal, consequences if not addressed promptly.
What is the difference between inpatient and outpatient speedball addiction treatment?
Drug rehab programs can be broadly classified as either outpatient or inpatient. In an outpatient setting, you only have to go to the treatment center if you have a scheduled therapy. You have the freedom to go back home after each session, and this setup allows you to continue working or studying while receiving much-needed treatment.
When you are in an inpatient rehab program, you need to stay in a rehab facility for the entire duration of your treatment. Inpatient programs can last from one to three months, depending on how severe your addiction is. The worse the addiction, the longer your treatment program will last.
Inside the rehab facility, you will be focused on activities geared towards your recovery. These include individual and group therapy sessions, balanced meals, recovery support groups, recreational activities, and hobbies. You might even pick up a new hobby to replace your drug-seeking behavior.
By the end of your inpatient treatment program, you should be able to live a sober life again on your own. Some comprehensive programs even include aftercare, which are supportive therapies performed after your stay in the rehab facility is over. Aftercare is an effective way to prevent relapse after treatment is done.
In general, addiction recovery professionals recommend inpatient rehab for the best recovery outcomes. Inpatient treatment is more focused, and your environment is free from drug triggers and temptations to use. With that, you can fully concentrate on the recovery process. Outpatient treatment does not prevent your exposure to drug triggers, especially if they are present in your home. With that, your risk of relapse is higher.
What is polydrug abuse?
Taking speedball is considered a polydrug abuse because you take more than one drug each time. Other practitioners may call this practice polysubstance abuse.
Drug users who take multiple substances at a time often do it to enhance the pleasurable effects. Speedball, for example, supposedly produces a more intense high than taking just heroin or cocaine alone.
But it’s not just the pleasurable effects that are amplified. The negative side effects become enhanced as well. Consequently, the risk of addiction is greater.
How is polydrug abuse treated?
Polydrug abuse cases like speedball addiction are treated differently than addictions to just one drug. For one, detoxing from two drugs is harder than detoxing from just one. The withdrawal symptoms may be worse and need more intensive monitoring.
For cases of polydrug abuse, it is recommended to enroll in an inpatient detox program. That way, doctors can track your progress 24 hours a day. If any critical complications arise, you will get immediate medical attention.
Polydrug abuse treatments depend on the specific substances you are addicted to. Since there are many different combinations of speedball, the treatment you get must be tailored to the drugs that you have been taking. For instance, treatment for a heroin-cocaine speedball addiction will be different from that of a Xanax-meth speedball addiction.
In most cases, regardless of the drug combination, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is employed. Ask your doctor or mental health specialist to help you come up with the best treatment plan for you.