We certainly don’t need to go into the horrific overdose rates brought about by the nation’s opioid addiction crisis. But recently, a much more dangerous mixture has entered the equation and may soon be responsible for an increase in painkiller-related fatalities. We’re talking about “Speedballs,” aka fentanyl-laced cocaine.
For the record, “speedball” cocktails have been around for decades. In fact, it was a similar mixture that took the life of comedian John Belushi back in the 1980’s. Though traditionally comprised of heroin and cocaine, the “speedball 2.0’s” of today blend the pain medication fentanyl with bags of coke and the results continue to be extremely deadly.
Ohio Health Department rep Dr. Mark Hurst spoke publicly about the rising issue and put out a stern warning to anyone curious to blend the drugs. “The potency of fentanyl is 50 times that of heroin,” he explained. “And so it’s even more lethal in a dose than heroin would be.”
Ohio, as we’ve reported before, is one of the states hardest hit by the crisis. In 2017 alone, 4,000 of their citizens died due to opioid-related causes. And according to recent stats, it’s on track to lose more 5,000 lives this year. Connecticut is another state deeply engulfed in speedball usage. Per a recent NPR article, it has seen a 420 percent increase in the number of fatalities involving cocaine/fentanyl combinations.
One of the more common scenarios for the new speedball concoction includes laced cocaine, that is then smoked. But it can include syringes and snorting overdoses. There is also a more ominous scenario that law enforcement officials are concerned about. They have been seeing more and more cases of victims unknowingly OD’ing on fentanyl-laced cocaine. And one of the theories is that suppliers are intentionally adding opioid elements into their coke batches to make the product more addictive.
“People who were just using cocaine occasionally, now they’re using cocaine every day,” a spokesman told NPR reporters. “It’s all about making them [drug users] need the product.”
And for that reason, cops nationwide are going public with warnings to anyone who may regularly purchase narcotics.
“We don’t want to cause widespread panic, but with how deadly fentanyl is, we really need to get the word out there that it could potentially be in every batch of cocaine, just like we tell everyone to approach heroin like it could potentially have fentanyl,” the rep added.
In our opinion, this warning should be spread locally as well and work as a wake up call for anyone battling what they believe is a “casual addiction.” Know now that one bad batch of drugs can now have very serious consequences.