What Happens When You Mix Cocaine and Heroin?

Cocaine and heroin are illicit addictive drugs, each with its own set of potential risks. In some cases, a person may combine cocaine and heroin, intensifying the desired effects and increasing the likelihood of serious complications or even death.

Read on for more information about the dangers of cocaine and heroin use, and what happens when these powerful drugs are mixed together.

Possible Side Effects of Heroin Use

Young woman sobbing into her handsHeroin is an illegal opioid created from morphine, which is derived from certain types of poppy plants.1–3 The way heroin affects the body is similar to prescription opioids, which are generally used to manage pain.3 Heroin can be injected, smoked, or snorted, and takes effect quickly.1,3

Possible short-term effects of heroin use include:3,4

  • Experiencing a “rush.”
  • Feeling like extremities weigh a lot.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Severe itchiness.
  • Fluctuating consciousness (“on the nod”).
  • Drowsiness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Worsened cognitive functioning.
  • Skin flushing.
  • Slowed breathing and heart rate.

Slowed breathing could result in enduring brain damage, coma, and even death.4

Possible Side Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine is a stimulant drug derived from the leaves of South American coca plants. In the U.S., it’s most commonly encountered as a white powder or whitish little chunks (“crack”), and can be smoked, snorted, or injected.6–10

The desired effects of cocaine use are typically short-lived, while the risks of use may linger and can be extremely dangerous.6–10 These possible side effects include:9

  • Restlessness.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Mental alertness.
  • Nausea.
  • Constricted blood vessels.
  • Increased energy.
  • Shaking.
  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • Enlarged pupils.
  • Euphoria or extreme happiness.
  • Paranoia.
  • Elevated body temperature.
  • Irritability.
  • Acting violently, oddly, and/or unpredictably.
  • Hypersensitivity to touch, sights, and sounds.
  • Death.

The Dangers of Mixing Heroin and Cocaine

ambulance rushing toward emergency room after someone has an overdoseWhen people mix heroin and cocaine together, it is sometimes called a “speedball.”6 This an extremely potent and potentially lethal combination.11

The risks of mixing heroin and cocaine may include: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 can lead to death, since cocaine’s effects dissipate much faster than heroin’s.11

Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that in 2011 polysubstance drug use (such as combined cocaine and heroin use) led to 10,388 emergency room visits, marking a 116% increase from 2009.12

Getting Help for Cocaine and Heroin Addiction

Addition is treatable, and there are various ways to get help if you or a loved one has lost control of their drug or alcohol use.13

At Greenhouse Treatment Center, we offer multiple levels of addiction treatment in a beautiful, serene setting. Our inpatient drug rehab facility in Grand Prairie, Texas, provides medical detox for substance abuse, combines evidence-based therapies, and tailors treatment plans to meet the individual needs of each patient.

To learn more about our programs, how to pay for rehab, or how to use insurance to pay for rehab, call us at . Our admissions navigators are available 24/7 to answer any questions and help you start the admissions process.

You can also check your health insurance coverage by filling out this simple and secure .

Take the first step toward recovery and call us today.

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