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  • Take the First Step in Las Vegas

    Desert Hope is a beautiful oasis with modern charm located in Las Vegas, Nevada. We provide all levels of care from detox, in-patient, outpatient and sober living.

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  • A New Life Awaits

    Start your recovery at our spa-like facility in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Holistic therapies, chef-prepared meals, and LGBTQ+ support are among the many features of our premier drug and alcohol treatment program.

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  • The Best Place to Recover in Orange County

    Laguna Treatment Hospital is located in Orange County, CA. The first Chemical Dependency Recovery Hospital in the OC, we offer safe medical detox, mental health support, and wellness programs.

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  • Start Recovery at Our Southern Resort

    Take a step back from your life and get the help you need at our premier drug and alcohol addiction center. Nestled in the countryside 1.5 hours from Memphis, Oxford gives you the support you need in a calm and beautiful setting.

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  • Recovery Forecast includes Tropical Weather

    Your recovery can start at either of two premier drug and alcohol treatment facilities in the Greater Miami area - Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, FL. Our specialties include treatment for veterans and first responders.

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  • Sunny Florida Welcomes You

    Retreat to the sunny climate of Tampa, Florida for a stay at the gold standard of treatment facilities. We offer customized care plans to help you on your recovery journey.

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  • Helping New Englanders Find Recovery for Over 30 years

    Escape to the countryside to recovery in New Jersey’s premier drug rehab & treatment center. Located only an hour from New York City.

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We are pleased to announce that we are now in-network with policies utilizing Behavioral Healthcare Options (BHO) Now in-network with policies utilizing Behavioral Healthcare Options (BHO).

What Happens When You Mix Cocaine with Heroin?

Cocaine and heroin are two of the most powerful and widely known illicit drugs around. These are often the drugs evoked during information or warning campaigns about illegal intoxicants due to the fact that they’re both very common, addictive, and destructive. Communities have been devastated by cocaine and heroin epidemics, especially in areas populated primarily by people living under the poverty line.

Polydrug Use

Mixing Cocaine with Heroin togetherMost of the time, when people think about cocaine or heroin, they think about individuals who are addicted to one or the other, spending all of their time and money on obtaining the one drug of choice.

Studies and educational programs on these drugs also tend to focus on one or the other. However, the reality is that most people who abuse drugs engage in polydrug use – the practice of taking more than one intoxicant at a time.

Polydrug use is typically done either to enhance the effects of one or both substances or to mitigate the unpleasant symptoms associated with bingeing on one or the other. For example, heroin tends to make users very drowsy to the point that they may have difficulty staying awake during the high. Taking cocaine fixes this with a burst of energy. On the other hand, cocaine abuse can cause agitation and anxiety, and heroin can instantly calm someone down.

Mixing cocaine and heroin is common enough to have its own name on the streets: speed balling. This typically involves injecting or “shooting” both of these drugs at once. People do this in order to experience the intense rush of cocaine without the crash and to stay awake to enjoy the relaxing and pleasant heroin high.

Health Risks of Mixing Cocaine and Heroin

As pleasant as speed balling may feel, it’s also incredibly dangerous. Another thing many people are not aware of is how often overdose cases involve more than one substance. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of heroin-related deaths that involved more drugs than just heroin range from 36.9 percent to 98.9 percent, depending on the state examined. This is due to a number of factors, particularly the fact that stimulants hide the symptoms of a depressant overdose and vice versa.

Heroin is a powerful central nervous system depressant that slows essential body functions like the heartbeat and breathing rate. Overdose deaths from heroin happen because of severe respiratory depression, causing a person’s breathing to slow to the point that not enough oxygen can reach the brain. Cocaine, on the other hand, is a stimulant.
Not only does it alleviate side effects like drowsiness, it masks certain warning signs of impending heroin overdose, such as:

  • Confusion
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Body limpness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Bluish lips or fingernails
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Coma

Cocaine also wears off faster than heroin, meaning that a person who took too much of the depressant might be kept breathing by the stimulant, making that individual think it’s safe to take more heroin. Once the cocaine leaves the system, the central nervous system can suddenly become dangerously depressed.
At the same time, cocaine overdose can result in a heart attack or stroke due to a severe increase in blood pressure. The warning signs for these conditions tend to involve pain, but heroin is a potent opiate, meaning it relieves and prevents pain. A loss of coordination or consciousness while speed balling may also be dismissed as an effect of the heroin when it’s really a result of a stroke.

There are also potential long-term health effects from speed balling as it’s generally very hard on the major organs, but it’s difficult to engage in mixing heroin and cocaine for long without overdosing. It’s best to avoid speed balling at all costs.