The death toll related to drug abuse is almost always focused on opioid narcotics these days. While such drugs do not need any help with regard to being dangerous, addicts will commonly mix opioids with other narcotics, sometimes “uppers” and sometimes with more “downers.” It is quite common for people who mix opioids with benzodiazepines to experience a fatal overdose. However, there is another trend that has the power to take one’s life, commonly referred to as “speedballing.” That is mixing opioids and cocaine together, to be injected simultaneously. You may be aware that a number of celebrities have lost their life to the admixture, including:
- John Belushi
- Chris Farley
- Philip Seymour Hoffman
While cocaine use rates have been down in recent years, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment has shown a significant increase in cocaine-related overdose deaths in recent years, according to the U.S. News & World Report. Cocaine can be deadly on its own; but when mixed with opioids the drug becomes exponentially more fatal.
“When there are no opioids involved in cocaine-overdose deaths you see an overall decline in recent years,” says Christopher M. Jones, an acting associate deputy assistant secretary with the Department of Health and Human Services. “But when you look at cocaine and opioids together, we see a more than doubling in the number of overdoses since 2010, with heroin and synthetic opioids increasingly involved in these deaths."