Mixing Cocaine and Heroin


Heroin is created from morphine, which in turn is derived from plants, specifically particular poppy types.1 This opioid is illegal.1,2,3 Opioids are able to obstruct pain messages; they are able to affect individuals in other ways as well.4 Dopamine’s release is able to be triggered by activating particular opioid receptors located in an individual’s brain’s reward center.5 Heroin and prescription opioids affect individuals in ways that resemble each other.3

Someone might use heroin via injecting (after dissolving as well as diluting), someone might use heroin via smoking, and/or someone might use heroin via snorting.1 Heroin is able to quickly be in someone’s brain.3

For blocking pain locally, individuals undergoing certain operations might licitly receive cocaine, a controlled substance designated as Schedule II (according to the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], heroin is designated as Schedule I).6,7,8 Individuals might obtain cocaine from someone selling it on the street.6 Cocaine’s form could be whitish little chunks (these might be called “crack”) or could be white powder.6,9,10

Someone might smoke crack, someone might inject dissolved powder, someone might snort powder, or someone might use cocaine via another way.6,9,10 Individuals who smoke might experience a high with a duration of only 10 minutes or less, whereas individuals who snort might experience a high with a duration of half an hour or less.9 Cocaine comes from a certain plant, specifically coca leaves, which individuals have used because of their stimulant impacts for millennia.6,9

Possible Heroin Effects

In the short-term, possible impacts from using heroin individuals might experience include:3,4

  • Being nauseous
  • Throwing up
  • Slowing of breathing
  • Itching significantly
  • Experiencing a “rush”
  • Feeling like extremities weigh a lot
  • Consciousness fluctuating (“on the nod”)
  • Being tired
  • Having a mouth that is dry
  • Worsened cognitive functioning
  • Skin flushing
  • Slowing of heart
  • Dying

Breathing slowing down could result in enduring damage to an individual’s brain, coma, and even death.4

Possible Cocaine Effects

If an individual uses cocaine, it might trigger things including:9

  • Being restless
  • Having a heartbeat that is not regular
  • Having a heart rate that is quick
  • Being alert
  • Being nauseous
  • Having blood vessels that are constricted
  • Having a lot of energy
  • Shaking
  • Having an elevated blood pressure
  • Having enlarged pupils
  • Being very happy
  • Being paranoid
  • Having an elevated temperature
  • Being irritable
  • Acting violently, oddly, and/or unpredictably
  • Being overly sensitive to noises, touch, and seeing
  • Dying

The Dangers of Mixing Heroin and Cocaine

Individuals might use both heroin and cocaine; individuals might refer to this as a “speedball.”6 Someone might be attempting to experience effects from heroin as well as cocaine, attempting to lessen adverse impacts, and/or seeking a powerful rush.11

Yet, using heroin and cocaine could kill a person.11

A person might experience issues including:11

  • Having an aneurysm
  • Being tired
  • Suffering a stroke
  • Being confused
  • Experiencing respiratory failure
  • Having trouble with motor skills
  • Being paranoid
  • Suffering a heart attack
  • Dying

Using cocaine as well as heroin makes a person especially prone to respiratory failure (which could kill a person) since cocaine’s impacts dissipate much faster than heroin’s impacts.11

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a document providing estimates for 2011, which indicates illicit drugs combined (for instance heroin and cocaine) were thought to be part of 10,388 visits, in America, to emergency departments, which consequently was 116% growth from the corresponding 2009 estimate.12

Get Help

If you or someone else might have overdosed on heroin, cocaine, and/or any other substances, call 911 immediately.

If you may have an addiction to a substance, don’t ignore it: consult a healthcare provider.13

 

Sources:
  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Heroin: What is heroin and how is it used?.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Heroin: Overview.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). DrugFacts: Heroin: What is heroin?.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Heroin: What are the immediate (short-term) effects of heroin use?.
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Heroin: What effects does heroin have on the body?.
  6. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Cocaine: What is cocaine?.
  7. United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug scheduling.
  8. (2019). Controlled substances: Alphabetical order.
  9. National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). DrugFacts: Cocaine: What is cocaine?.
  10. Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Department of Justice. (2017). Drugs of abuse: A DEA resource guide: 2017 edition.
  11. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). Real teens ask about speedballs.
  12. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: National estimates of drug-related emergency department visits.
  13. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Step by step guides to finding treatment for drug use disorders.


About The Contributor

Sophie Stein, MSN
Sophie Stein, MSN

Clinical Editor

Sophie Stein received her master’s of science in nursing from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She previously worked as an advanced practice registered nurse at an outpatient psychiatric practice providing mental health care for children,... Read More


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