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Speedball (drug)

Speedballing, also known as "moonrock" [1] when smoked, is a popular term for the mixing of heroin or morphine with cocaine. This is a potentially lethal concoction: the cocaine acts as a stimulant, raising the pulse, but its effects wear off more quickly than those of heroin, which in turn slow the heart down. As a result, it is possible to experience a delayed "overdose" (technically, severe respiratory depression) when the stimulant wears off and the full effects of the heroin are felt in isolation. Sometimes, other combinations of stimulants and depressants are referred to as speedballs, such as the use of amphetamines in conjunction with opiates, benzodiazepines or barbiturates. A Vodka Red Bull is sometimes referred to as a speedball since it contains the alcohol depressant and the caffeine stimulant. This is a deviation from the original term, but still common practice.

Speedball use in popular culture

Speedball use was a contributor to the cause of several high-profile deaths, including that of John Belushi, Chris Farley [3], Brent Mydland, Layne Staley, River Phoenix, Mitch Hedberg, Eric Show, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Hillel Slovak; David Gahan overdosed on a speedball but survived[citation needed]. A speedball over dose also killed the singer Janis Joplin [4] at the age of 27.

In the book The Dirt, Mötley Crüe bassist, Nikki Sixx, admitted to doing speedballs shortly after starting heroin, resulting in vomiting. In his autobiography, Slash admits that he often injected heroin and cocaine when he was guitarist with Guns N' Roses, sometimes speedballing.

The use of speedballs may have first been discovered by the CIA while working on the MKULTRA experiments. In declassified CIA documents it was said that "an IV drip of a barbiturate would be started in one arm of a human subject and an IV drip of amphetamine would be waiting to flow in the other arm and just as the subject began to fall asleep from the barbiturate, the amphetamine would be released resulting in the patient waking up and babbling incoherently." Other experiments of this sort included the use of heroin, mescaline, psilocybin, scopolamine, marijuana, and alcohol.


  1. ^ [1][2]

See also

  • Poly drug use
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Speedball_(drug)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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