Mixing meth and heroin poses an incredibly dangerous health risk. When smoked, snorted or injected together, meth and heroin overload the nervous system with stimulatory and depressant effects. Brain activity goes haywire as the nervous system is both suppressed and aroused. Neurotransmitters that are responsible for regulating emotions, thought processes and impulse control flood the brain. The resulting tsunami of brain chemicals only reinforces the rapid development of full-blown addiction.
The high is even more addictive than the high of one of these drugs on its own—and may help to explain the popularity of meth-heroin combos among illicit drug users. Long-term meth or heroin users constantly need more of their drug to stop cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Using heroin and meth together, though, is an even more dangerous and life-threatening gamble.
A Day in the Life of a Heroin Addict
Jasmine’s older sister Megan introduced her to heroin when she was 16 years old. Jasmine knew Megan had been using heroin for several years but didn’t want to make an issue of it. Megan got a job recently as a receptionist for a busy auto repair company and seemed to be handling her heroin use well. At least that’s how it seemed to Jasmine.
What Jasmine didn’t know about Megan’s heroin addiction was that Megan had to prostitute herself on the weekends to make enough money to pay for her addiction. Jasmine found this out months later after she got addicted to heroin.
When she was high on heroin, Jasmine felt nothing but pure euphoria. It was the best feeling she had ever felt in her whole life, she told close friends. All her fears, worries and insecurities vanished as soon as she slid the needle into her arm. Heroin made her feel pleasantly numb, drowsy and happy.
When she was high on heroin, Jasmine didn’t care about anything. She didn’t care about not being one of the “popular” kids at school, she didn’t care that her parents were getting a divorce and she didn’t care about doing schoolwork. All she cared about was getting the money to buy heroin.
Under Megan’s tutelage, Jasmine began prostituting to earn money for heroin. It was the only way she could obtain enough heroin to stave off horrible withdrawal symptoms and unrelenting cravings. She also started noticing she no longer felt euphoric and dreamy after injecting heroin. Instead, using heroin now just prevented her from feeling anxious and sick.
When Jasmine was arrested for prostitution one year after using heroin for the first time. The cop taking her mugshot asked her how old she was. “I’ll be 18 tomorrow,” she answered.
Just before taking the mugshot, the cop gave her a long, hard look and said, “You look 40.”
Jasmine started calling her dealers as soon as she was released from jail.
A Day in the Life of a Meth Addict
On Noah’s 21st birthday, he made one of the worst mistakes of his life—driving drunk late at night on a busy interstate. The other worst mistake he made was getting addicted to methamphetamine.
Noah caused a four-car pileup that night when he swerved out of his lane. Several drivers and passengers were seriously injured. Noah suffered a concussion and broken leg. He recovered and found himself facing multiple felony charges. One year later, Noah found himself serving six months in prison for DUI, aggravated vehicular assault, reckless driving and failure to show insurance at the time of the accident.
Noah used meth for the first time in prison. With the money his parents sent him for commissary purposes, Noah bought contraband methamphetamine from fellow prisoners. He couldn’t believe how easy it was to get meth and other drugs in prison. He tried pot, heroin and spice while incarcerated but meth turned out to be his drug of choice.
Noah felt invincible, energized and bursting with great ideas when high on meth. After he was released on parole, Noah hung out on street corners, got hooked up with a few meth dealers and became a meth dealer himself to fund his addiction. He knew his parole officer would issue an arrest warrant when he didn’t show up for drug testing but he didn’t care. He lived for getting his next meth high and making enough money to pay for the cheap motel room in which he lived.
Like Jasmine, Noah aged 20 years after one year of abusing meth. Since he ate only junk food, he lost weight, developed acne-like sores on his face and body, and woke up occasionally to discover he had swallowed another loose tooth in his sleep.
Dangers of Mixing Meth and Heroin
Polydrug use is the use of multiple drugs simultaneously and can often occur when a drug user has developed a tolerance for their original drug of choice. When they can no longer get high from one drug, they deliberately combine two different drugs in an attempt to get the powerful high they crave.
Combining opioids like heroin with stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine, a practice sometimes referred to as “speedballing,” is supposed to give addicts the “best” of both highs without the need to take more of one drug.
The biggest danger of speedballing is exactly why addicts use meth and heroin together—the constant search for the most intense high possible. Overdosing is another real danger of speedballing. The effects of heroin will diminish before the effects of meth do because it is a nervous system suppressant. Consequently, speedball addicts may experience tachycardia (rapid heart beat), hyperventilation, agitation and panic attacks once the heroin has worn off. So, they take more heroin to counteract the extreme physical responses to methamphetamine and an overloaded nervous system.
Long-term speedballing will increase an addict’s risk for:
- Heart attack
- Sudden drop in blood pressure leading to shock
- Respiratory distress
- Organ failure
Treating a Meth and Heroin Addiction
If you or someone you know is combining meth and heroin to get high, know that recovery is possible with professional detox and treatment. Quality treatment should consist of a medically supervised withdrawal, followed by behavioral therapies that address the causes and triggers of substance abuse. To learn how you or someone you know can start receiving the caring, professional treatment necessary to defeat an addiction, contact FHE today.