Cocaine-Heroin a Deadly Combination

Cocaine-Heroin a Deadly Combination

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Tonya Papanikolas ReportingThe death of Salt Lake Valley resident Amelia Sorich from a drug overdose came as a shock to many people around her. Police say she had been partying with friends and injected cocaine and heroine into her system.

The medical examiner says this combination, known as speedballing, accounts for about 50-60 percent of illicit drug deaths in Utah. Sorich's friends never imagined she would be one of the statistics.

When 18-year-old Amelia Sorich went missing many people who knew her would never have guessed she overdosed on drugs.

Eric Tripp, Amelia's Boss: "When I heard that, it was the farthest thing from what I was thinking."

Eric Tripp was Amelia's boss at the Super Sonic car wash in Sandy. He says Sorich was the ideal employee and he never saw any signs of drug use.

Eric Tripp: "She came to work on time every day. She never had any down days. She was always just happy to be here. She was always friendly, highly intelligent, really pretty girl."

It's unknown how long Sorich had been using cocaine and heroine, but the chief medical examiner says mixing drugs is common in overdoses.

Dr. Todd Grey, Chief Medical Examiner: "The most common pattern we see with illicit drug deaths is a combination of cocaine and heroin."

One drug is an upper, the other a downer. And they have different effects on the body. Cocaine can affect your heart while heroin can stop your breathing.

Dr. Todd Grey: "It basically starts shutting down functions of the brain."

Jon Gill says the mix is addictive. He knows because he's a recovering addict.

Jon Gill, Recovering Addict: "Usually when I did heroine, I did cocaine at the same time."

Gill says he overdosed three times, but it took a while for people around him to notice his symptoms.

Jon Gill: "You can hide any drug use for a little while, but it does eventually start to take its toll because what was important to you doesn't become important any more."

Gill is now nearing graduation at a residential facility for substance abusers. He says with the support of good friends around him, he can stay clean. Gil says he knows he's lucky to be alive.

Utah has between 100 and 140 illegal drug deaths a year. Amelia Sorich's friends at work say they can't believe she's gone; they will miss her and are thinking of her family.

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast