It’s not uncommon for drug users to combine two different drugs to change their high. The combination may amplify the effects of both drugs, eliminate negative effects from one drug, or create a new and unique high altogether. When someone takes two drastically different drugs they may experience severe side-effects and even an increased likelihood of overdose. Mixing stimulants and depressants is known as a “speedball” and the addiction to two combined drugs is known as polysubstance addiction. Since both the drugs are extremely potent, taking heroin and meth together poses a unique set of risks on its own.
The Effects Of Heroin On The Body
Heroin alone has a very high risk of overdose, with nearly 15,500 recorded overdoses in 2017. As a depressant, heroin slows a users heart rate and respiration, causes drowsiness, and may inhibit their ability to move their body freely. As the body begins to slow down after a hit of heroin, the user is at an increased risk of reaching a comatose state or having permanent brain damage, due to cerebral hypoxia.
The Effects Of Methamphetamine On The Body
Contrary to heroin, methamphetamine increases heart rate and blood pressure, raises body temperature, and causes insomnia and convulsions. As you can see, the immediate effects of meth and heroin are almost completely opposite. The two drugs do share the common risk of comatose or brain damage, but meth users also have a high chance heart attack and seizures if they ingest too much of the drug. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice published the National Drug Threat Assesment Report. This report stated that nearly 900,000 individuals in the United States are currently using the drug and between 85-90% of stimulant-related overdoses involved the use of methamphetamine.
Mixing Meth and Heroin
Polysubstance abuse, as we mentioned before, is the addiction to two or more drugs at the same time. People who already have a dependency on drugs are more susceptible to this form of addiction.
As of late, meth and heroin is the most common polysubstance combination. When someone uses heroin and meth together, for example, the negative effects of both of the drugs can be enhanced and are often unpredictable. Meth and heroin both give the body mixed signals; heroin slows it down and meth speeds it up. The body may rapidly cycle between a low heart rate and blood pressure, to an extremely high rate.
Mixing meth and heroin has many painful and dangerous side-effects, including, but not limited to:
- Bodily pain and discomfort
- Increased heart rate
- Increased respiratory rate
- Heart Arrhythmia
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of inhibitions
One of the most dangerous effects of a heroin and meth addiction is that the user is sometimes so disoriented that they are unable to recognize the symptoms of an overdose before it is too late. This is because those two drugs together may lessen the effect that the user feels, so they take more than usual. Of course, like all drugs, the effects of these drugs depends on multiple variables, including the potency of the drug, the weight and health of the individual, and the method used to ingest the substance.
What is also unique to the practice of mixing meth and heroin, is the timing of the peak of the high. The high from heroin alone peaks at two hours after the initial dose and the overall high lasts roughly four hours. Whereas the peak of a methamphetamine high is around two to four hours and the whole high can last up to fourteen hours. Together, the peak of the high is only between thirty to sixty minutes. This is one factor that adds to the rapid fluxation of heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.
Above all, the most dangerous part of mixing meth and heroin is the unpredictability.
Heroin and Meth Addiction Treatment
The polysubstance addiction to both meth and heroin requires a treatment program that caters to both the needs of the individual and the unique challenges of polysubstance addiction. Finding a treatment center with experience in this field is vital to the efficiency of the program. Unless the center is able to treat the addiction to meth and heroin together, the patient will be more susceptible to relapse. Multiple research studies have shown that the most effective way to treat a heroin and meth addiction is two treat the individual for both addictions simultaneously.
Our staff at Treatment Centers XL in Lone Tree, Colorado, have an extensive background in all forms of addiction, including polysubstance addiction. For information on our treatment program and philosophy, feel free to call us at (720) 600-1043.