As many of you know, Layne passed away due to a physical overdose
from a mix of two narcotics, cocain and heroin, most commonly referred to as a "speedball".
I have taken the time to look at several different website concerning
this lethal mix and to take a look at the two drugs themselves seperately. So far, this is what I've come up with:
* When heroin is first injected into the body, the brain's chemisty
reacts with the toxins from the heroin to give the individual a sense of euphoria. This is felt within 7 to 8 seconds of ingestion,
and (correct me if I'm wrong) usually lasts for up to an hour. How long this lasts depends upon the amount consumed, and how
rapidly the drug enters the brain. The rush is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy
feeling in the user's arms and legs. They may also experience nausea, vomiting, and itching. Following this, the user will
be drowsy for several hours with clouded mental function and slowed cardiac and respiratory function; almost to the point
*Repeated use (and this is so damn obvious!) produces tolerance
and dependance. The body adapts to the prescence of the drug, and thus the basis for the user's on-going obsession to find
more. Withdrawal symptoms begin within a few hours of last use...(take note of this, everyone!)and can include restlessness,
muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, and involuntary leg movement. These peak
between 24 and 48 hours after the last dose and although they generally subside after about a week, they may persist for up
to several months.
*Other effects: Fatigue, a change in "reality"--like the world
no longer exists around them, and a decrease in both mental and physical function.
*Solube cocaine is sometimes injected, but the usual method
is for a small amount to be sniffed or snorted up the nose through a small tube, become absorbed into the bloodstream through
the nasal membrane. However, a smokeable form of freebase cocaine ("crack") is also common. Crack is purer and more concentrated
than soluable cocaine and is absorbed into the body faster than if it is snorted.
* Cocaine produces feelings of well-being, mental exhilaration,
reduced appetite and great physical strength and mental capacity (Ergo, you feel like a damned Hercules.). However these feelings
can often be replaced by feelings of anxiety or panic.
*When snorted, the effects of cocaine peak in somewhere between
fifteen minutes to a half an hour, and then fade, encouraging the user to repeat the dose in order to maintain the effects.
Large doses or lots of quickly repeated doses over a period of hours or days can lead to extreme states of agitation, anxiety,
paranoia, and possibly hallucinations which generally fade when the drug leaves the body. After effects can include fatigue
* Excessive doses may result in heart failure. Long-term users
do not necessarily develop tolerance, but are often tempted to increase doses for a more intense effect. Discontinuation of
the drug produces fatigue, sleepiness, and depression, which can encourage users to continue using to alleviate the effects.
* Chronic long-term use results in: restlessness, over excitability,
and feelings of nausea. This can also lead to paranoid psychosis. Regular usuers may appear chronically nervous, excitable,
and paranoid. Confusion with exhaustion due to lack of sleep is common. These effects may all disappear with discontinued
use over time, but a paranoid mental state may be irreversable and permanent.
* The mixture of the two drugs into an intravaneous syringe
to be injected into the bloodstream. The cocaine acts as a stimulant, raising the heartbeat, but the effects of it wear
off more quickly than the heroin, which results in a slowing of the heart. As a result, a delayed "overdose" is generally
experiennced (i.e. severe respiratory depression--aka it's really hard to breathe) when the coke wears off and the full effects
of the heroin are felt. Meth has also been known to be used in place of the coke. Some people also use it with crack cocaine.
Speedball increases the greater severity of psychiatric disorders, higher
incidence of failure in drug treatment, and increased risk of contracting HIV.
Please bear in mind that nothing is as important as a twelve step recovery
program (for any individuals currently addicted, I am strongly urging you to find one in your area); but these are some
of the drugs currently being used to treat these horrible addictioins.
According to the National Institue on Drug Abuse, NIDA supported researches
from Harvard Medical School-McLean hospital found that a combination of the drugs buprenorphine and indatraline reduced the
self-administration of "speedball" in monkeys. (Incidentally, the monkeys were trained to self-administer.
Better talk to PETA about that one.) **The article I read (where this is all from) also states that methadone, which
we'll learn about eventually, is only MODERATELY EFFECTIVE in treating speedball abuse. At the moment there are
NO EFFECTIVE MEDICATIONS (Good to know.) for treatment of cocaine abuse. I.E. FIND A TWELVE STEP PROGRAM...it will SAVE YOUR
LIFE!!! Even if you don't think you're ready for one...GO! Don't be stubborn and put your life on the line...GO!
Anyway, to get off the soapbox, Nancy K. Mello, one of the doctors who was
looking into this, says:
"Clinical experience has shown that the most effective medications currently
available to treat drug abuse have two distinguishing charectoristics. First, these medications produce behavioral effects
that are similar to the abused drugand minimize or prevent withdrawal symptoms (Okay, so they're out there, they're just not
on the market yet.) SEcond, these medications have a slow onset and long duration of action, resulting in a lower potential
for abuse than rapid-onset, short acting drugs such as heroin or cocaine Indatraline, a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, and buprenorphine,
an opioid mixed agonist-antagonist (no clue what that means) each meet both of thse criteria. Both drugs have a long duration
of action; bupreneorphine produces behavioral and physiological effects similar to heroin; indatraline is an EXPERIMENTAL
DRUG (Meaning, don't ask me where or how you get it) that produces cocaine-like effects."
I could go on about the monkeys in this article, but I'm not gonna.
For right now, anyway.
Now...on to methadone. (According to "Angry Chair", Layne had to stand
in line for this crap.)
Methadone is a synthetic narcotic similiar in effect to morphine. It came
into use after World War II. It is sometimes used as an analgestic and to suppress the cough reflex.
In the brains of addicts, methadone prevents heroin or morphine from interacting
with receptors for natural painkillers called endorphins, blocking the effects of the addictive drugs and reducing the physical
cravings. In controlled doses it creates its own effects of mild euphoria and drowsiness, but lasts much longer (one
to two days) and does not create the sometimes fatal respiratory depression that opiates do. Its continued use as a
heroin substitute eventually restores sexual, immune, and adrenal function. When methadone is given to a heroin addict who
is later withdrawn from methadone, the addict will undergo methadone withdrawal instead of the severe heroiin withdrawal.
(Be advised there is knowlege of methadone abuse). Supporters point out that methadone maintenance, being oral,
breaks the dangerous ritual intravaneous injection; that it is legal and eliminates the addict's need to engage in crime for
drugs, and that it gives addicts a chance to reevaluate their lives. Critics counter that methadone patients are still addicts
and that methadone therapy does not help addicts with their personality problems (12 STEP, BABY!). In many cases multiple
drug use and a strong psychological dependence undermine the gains made. Some addicts manage to resell the methadone they
receive in order to buy heroin; this and other illegal diversion have resulted in methadone joining the group of addictive
drugs being sold on the steet. (So there is a down-side.)
This is what I have so far. I am not a doctor, and I advise you to seek
one out if you have any further questions about these medications. I am only seeking to further educate.
(More info as I find it!)