Mixing Cocaine And Morphine: Side Effects And Risks

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 11, 2021

There are many dangers associated with mixing cocaine and morphine. Substance abuse treatment can assist in managing addiction, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) options.

Dangers Of Mixing Cocaine And Morphine

Combining prescription drugs with illegal drugs can cause significant side effects, especially mixing prescription drugs like morphine with cocaine.

A speedball is the street name for the combination of a stimulant (such as cocaine or methamphetamine) and an opioid (like morphine or heroin).

Speedballs are typically injected with needles, but can also be crushed and snorted together or the cocaine is sometimes “piggy-backed”, or taken immediately after the heroin.

People who abuse these drugs together sometimes believe that the negative side effects of each drug may be reduced, however, this is not the case.

Mixing cocaine and morphine can actually increase risk of negative side effects, permanent damage, overdose, and death.

Find out more about the dangers of mixing opioids and stimulants

Risks Of Abusing Speedballs

The biggest risk associated with abusing morphine and cocaine together is that the body is trying to metabolize multiple drugs at the same time.

Effects On Oxygen Intake

Cocaine actually increases heart and breathing rates, because it requires more oxygen than normal. However heroin slows breathing, putting excess strain on the heart, brain and lungs.

After taking morphine and cocaine together, the body often is not able to get enough oxygen to stay safe and navigate the effects of the cocaine.

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Increased Risk For Overdose

In addition, the effects of cocaine start to taper off faster than heroin, so a person abusing speedballs may use more than someone using cocaine or heroin on its own.

This increases the risk of overdose and permanent damage.

Exposure To Dangerous Cutting Agents

Another problem associated with mixing cocaine with other drugs is that, in recent years, cocaine has been altered and contaminated by other substances, including fentanyl and trimethoprim.

Side Effects Of Speedballing Morphine And Cocaine

Abusing opioids, such as morphine, can cause excessive drowsiness, significant reduction in breathing rate, and confusion.

Abusing cocaine commonly leads to hypersensitivity, anxiety, irregular heart rate, rapid heartbeat, and high blood pressure.

Mixing morphine and cocaine into a speedball often places the person at extremely high risk for a number of unpredictable side effects.

Some side effects a person may experience when mixing cocaine and morphine include:

  • incoherence
  • paranoia
  • arrhythmias
  • insomnia
  • mental impairment
  • incoherence
  • twitching or uncontrolled movement
  • blurry vision

Mental Health Effects Of Speedballing

Those who abuse cocaine and morphine together have reported the following symptoms of mental health issues after ‘speedballing’:

  • paranoia
  • manic episodes
  • anxiety
  • depression

Additionally, people who abuse speedballs may also become more aggressive and confrontational.

Long-Term Side Effects Of Speedballing

In addition to the unpredictable side effects, abusing morphine and cocaine together can result in fatal effects due to:

  • aneurysm
  • heart attack
  • respiratory failure
  • stroke
  • overdose
  • death

Speedball abuse also leads to heart, liver, and lung damage.

Treatment For Speedball Addiction

A person abusing more than one substance, like morphine and cocaine, may require an addiction treatment program for polysubstance abuse.

Morphine abuse can also require a special type of addiction treatment, called medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs.

An addiction treatment program that includes medically supervised detox, inpatient treatment, and a robust aftercare plan can increase the probability of long-term recovery.

Our treatment specialists are available to answer your questions and help you decide on the recovery program that is right for you or your loved one.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 11, 2021
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