Speedball is a term used to refer to the concurrent use of stimulants and opiates. The term used to refer primarily to injecting cocaine along with heroin, but has now be adopted by most people to describe any combination of uppers and downers such as heroin with meth, oxycontin and coke, morphine with speed, etc.
One of the greatest misconceptions about speedballing is that because you are combining a CNS stimulant with a CNS depressant, that this somehow causes more stress to be put in your heart than if one were to just taking the stimulant alone. I've often heard people say how it pulls your heart in two different directions, or that your brain sends mixed signals to your heart causing it to alternate erratically between fast and slow beats. I guess this is a popular belief since two supposedly bad things must add up to something much worse.(what the prohibitonists don't tell you is that opiates are actually quite theraputic in moderate dosages and aren't physically harmful by themselves. Yes, opiates are good for your body. They slow down your heartbeat, lower your blood pressure, and also slow down your body's aging process.)
In reality, however, administering an opiate alongside a stimulant is no more harmful than taking the stimulant by itself. In fact, I would even argue that it is much better for your cardiac system if you were to always take an opiate with your stimulants as the antihypertensive effect of opiates greatly alleviates the stress being put on your heart. This is because opiates depress your CNS system so that the net stimulation/depression on your system is closer to equilibrium.
Speedballing does not cause cardiac arrythmia and does, in fact, reduce a lot of the negative side-effects of stimulant consumption. In this way, speedballing greatly increases the positive reinforcement of the stimulant being consumed. In my experience taking a strong opiate with coke or meth greatly diminishes cardiac response to the stimulant, which includes: tachycardia, excessive sweating, and hyperthermia. Opiates are extremely potent anxiolytics and their sedative effects can greatly attenuate the anxiogenic effects of stimulants and alleviates the crash users commonly experience when coming down from stimulant highs. Besides that, speedballing also decreases the occurance of stereotyped behavior like repetitive movements and excessive chattiness. Being able to sleep when you come down also reduces the risk of developing amphetamine/cocaine psychosis. I also find that speedballing does not suppress one's appetite as much as simply taking meth or coke by themselves.
Personally I'm not much of a fan of stimulants because of the crash and lethargy that follows stimulant consumption. However, I do enjoy speedballing with meth and strong opiates once in a while. Since amphetamines are diuretics it makes it much easier to take a piss while on a lot of opiates if you are speedballing. Amphetamines also stimulate bowel movements for those who have been constipated due to binging on opiates. For me speedballing provides one with the best of both worlds with minimal side-effects. One can be focused and energetic while staying calm and composed. One can experience the social aspect of recreational stimulant consumption while not getting too strung out or irritable afterwards. For me, the perfect partying drug combination is meth and heroin/morphine/fentanyl/oxycodone(yes, I'm a big fan of opiates) for this very reason. Alcohol tends to have very negative effects on my body causing more dysphoria than euphoria and also turns many people into belligerent assholes. I also have an aversion towards alcohol because it's a psychological depressant and dumbs one down while under its influence. Speedballing makes me very outgoing while retaining my mental acumen and a clear mind. And the best part: no hangover the next morning.
there are certain inherent dangers with speedballing. As enkidu mentioned earlier, there exists an imperfect overlap of effects when it comes to mixing stimulants with opiates so one can just as easily overdose on coke/meth without realizing it since depressants can hide many of the early warning signs of over-stimulation and overdose, so don't over do it. Speedballing also allows one to consume much more depressants than one normally would since the stimulant keeps your CNS stimulated and alert. This causes a problem when one is speedballing with coke and heroin since cocaine has a much shorter duration of action than most or all opiates. When the stimulation from the coke dissipates one may suddenly go into respiratory arrest from excessive CNS/respiratory depression. A user who has been speedballing also should not be administered with any opioid antagonists such as naloxone or narcan since the removing the sedative effects from the opiates in the user's system can greatly increase cocaine-toxicity.
As with all recreational drug consumption, moderation and responsibility should be exercised. If one is careful and familiar with potential dangers and risks associated with speedballing, it can be done in a relatively safe and harmless manner. It doesn't put carcinogens in your body, it doesn't damage lung tissue, it doesn't cause brain or liver damage, it doesn't make you emotionally volatile, it doesn't impair your thinking, it doesn impair your coordination, it doesn't reduce inhibitions, it doesn't cause blackouts or memory loss. In moderation it doesn't really impair one's judgement either just improves one's mood and gives one a much more confident and outgoing disposition without the jittery/edginess associated with stimulant use.
- Farsang C, Ramirez-Gonzalez MD, Mucci L, Kunos G. "Possible role of an endogenous opiate in the cardiovascular effects of central alpha adrenoceptor stimulation in spontaneously hypertensive rats."
- Ward SJ, Morgan D, Roberts D. "Comparison of the Reinforcing Effects of Cocaine and Cocaine/Heroin Comnbinations under Progressive Ratio and Choice Schedules in Rats."
- Foltin RW, Fischman MW. "The cardiovascular and subjective effects of intravenous cocaine and morphine combinations in humans."
- QZ Zhai, AJ Ingenito. "Sustained antihypertensive effects of chronic administration of two kappa-opioid agonists in spontaneously hypertensive rats."
NOTE: While I think speedballing is much less physically harmful than doing stimulants alone, it is also somewhat more habit forming and still very physically harmful if used without moderation. And since we're talking about illicit substances here, any kind of habit can involve risky behavior and less than desirable life changes. My advice is to know your own vices and your level of susceptibility to addiction and to buffer yourself from developing a drug habit accordingly. For SOME people it's possible to use drugs recreationally without getting addicted, this is true with all substances. But for others, addiction is almost always inevitable.
SECOND NOTE: I am not a licensed physician and much of the information contained in this w/u is derived from personal experience so the information contained in this w/u should not be taken as any sort of professional medical advice.