When someone frequently abuses these two drugs, they can develop severe, long-term physical and mental health consequences. The effects of mixing heroin and cocaine include damage to the lungs, heart, and liver. People in recovery for speedball addiction can trigger mental health symptoms, such as depression, mania, or paranoia. There are several potentially deadly side effects of speedballs, which can lead to permanent disability if someone manages to survive an overdose.
- Heart attacks and strokes
- Respiratory failure
More than half of all cocaine overdose deaths involved heroin. 42% of fatalities involving fentanyl overdoses involved heroin. Fentanyl is a prescription drug that is 100 times stronger than morphine and is an opioid derivative like heroin. People will sometimes combine cocaine and fentanyl to get a massive high.
Several factors will influence precisely how heroin and cocaine affect an individual user. The same person can take a speedball at different times, and experience different effects and intensities. As is the case with illegal street drugs, it is impossible to know exactly how much of what substance is in each batch. Some illegal manufacturers of drugs will sometimes add random chemicals to a batch to increase the volume and potency of the drugs.
The exact chemical makeup of a batch, the amount a user takes, and their physical health and state can all influence the intensity of a speedball. Most people who overdose on a speedball do so after the effects of cocaine wear off, and the person’s breathing is slowed to a dangerous level when the heroin takes full effect. Heroin and opioid derivative drugs are the leading causes of overdose deaths in the U.S.