If you look up the word speedballing in the Urban Dictionary, it reads in part, “The combination of the narcotic heroin and stimulant cocaine mixed together and injected in a single shot…Highly addictive. Beyond destructive. Will bring any addict to their knees…” This is nothing new to the people at drug treatment centers in Texas. Speed kills, and heroin kills, and speedballing is probably the worst thing an addict can do if he wants to keep on doing.
It’s surprising that people who have begun treatment at a methadone program know this and yet they sometimes yield drug screens positive for both opiates and cocaine. The clients who attend one of the drug treatment centers in Texas know that they will have to submit to regular screening. They know that they could face possible consequences, including a methadone taper and discharge from the program. The fact that people continue to use drugs in this deadly combination is a testament to just how compelling it is.
The Rules at Drug Treatment Centers in Texas
Anybody who attends the drug treatment centers in Texas knows that there are certain requirements they must follow. They should not test positive for opiates and benzodiazepines. They should not test positive for opiates and alcohol. Both benzos and alcohol are central nervous system depressants, and when you take them in combination with opiates, you run a double-dare risk—make that a triple risk—of going to sleep and not waking up, ever. Taking depressants in combination can simply overwhelm the system.
So why does anybody ever think it’s okay to take a combination of opiates and stimulants?
Many addicts who haven’t yet faced the dangers of addiction insist that there’s no danger in speedballing—or powerballing, as it’s sometimes called. But the danger comes from the very nature of the high. The stimulant effect of the cocaine comes on hard and quick so that it’s impossible for a drug user to think about the risk. They feel so good they are certain that nothing can hurt them, not even a little more heroin. And then a little more. But the cocaine wears off and the person is caught in an opiate undertow, dragged under by the heroin. The risk of dying from an overdose skyrockets.
Facts About Speedballing
If you’re attending one of the drug treatment centers in Texas you already recognize that speedballing combines your favorite effects of both drugs. But it’s a dangerous game. You’re so high from the combination that you can’t tell if you’re in danger from either of them. And you’ll suffer the side effects posed by both drugs. Speedballing is rough on the body’s system of organs, and multiple shoot-ups increase the potential for exposure to HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.
The doctors at drug treatment centers in Texas will tell you three certain facts about speedballing:
- The brain follows a reward-pleasure cycle in which certain pleasurable activities stimulate the brain to produce dopamine, that well-known feel-good neurotransmitter. Normally after the pleasurable event, the brain reabsorbs the dopamine that remains in the brain’s synapses, and the person retains an enjoyable expansion of those good feelings for a while after the event. However, cocaine interferes with the brain’s ability to reabsorb the dopamine. The person gradually loses his ability for enhanced pleasure enjoyment.
- Cocaine is one of the drugs known for its potential to cause permanent neurological damage to a user’s brain. Because it’s a stimulant, it can raise blood pressure beyond safe levels and result in a stroke. Even if the person doesn’t die from the stroke they may suffer, they can remain permanently, partially paralyzed, usually along the dominant side of the body.
- But the real threat of death from the combined action of heroin and cocaine is a sudden, massive heart attack. You’re high on cocaine, and you’re feeling the nod from the heroin. You keep doing more cocaine to stay awake. You keep doing more.
Speedballers downplay the danger of combining the two drugs. They say that when doctors prescribe a medication to any given patient, they think nothing of prescribing another drug to help with the side effects. They justify speedballing by saying it’s the same thing.
Use a Map to Visualize Your Goals
Beginning recovery at one of the drug treatment centers in Texas gives you the tools to step back and look at your reasons for using. Why do you use drugs? What are the long-term consequences?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse Treatment (NIDA.gov) has worked closely with professionals at drug treatment centers in Texas and elsewhere to provide educational tools for clients and also to enhance counseling methods. Texas Christian University developed a program for mapping-enhanced counseling to help with drug treatment centers in Texas. Originally mapping was utilized in a program to help intravenous heroin users avoid the risks of AIDS. It’s an interesting technique that your counselor can show you, and you can even play around with it on your own.
When you map out your drug use, you create a visual representation of what can happen if you follow different options. For example, you might draw a square at the top of the page and write inside, “Drug Use.” From the left side of that square, you draw a line to another shape and you write, “Get Arrested.” From there you have possibly two lines leading to two shapes: “Incarceration” and “Legal Costs.” Incarceration comes with its own stigmas and problems including loss of job, for example. Legal costs could prevent you from continuing the vo-tech training you started a month ago. And each square leads to another.
For the client, mapping helps them define the problems and priorities in their lives. For the counselor, mapping offers a real record of each session to keep the client’s progress right on track. There’s nothing like a good map to help you find your way back to where you need to be. Clients who participated in mapping techniques achieved higher ratings of self-confidence, motivation, and rapport after six months of treatment, according to a study published by SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.
Maybe you’re playing around with speedballing, sorting through the family medicine cabinet and taking a little of this and a little of that: some of Granny’s pain pills from her knee replacement, and some of Junior’s ADHD stimulant medication. Maybe you’re shooting up pure powerballs combining heroin and cocaine straight from one syringe. It’s a dangerous game. The experts at any of the methadone drug treatment centers in Texas will tell you: Don’t play it, because sooner or later, you won’t win. Get some help now.