Difference Between Cocaine and Heroin

As cocaine and Heroin are two of the most addictive drugs that exist today, it is good to know the difference between cocaine and heroin. Both of these drugs are extracted from specific kinds of plants in the same kingdom (Plantae), division (Magnoliophyta), and class (Magnoliopsida). Possession of these drugs is considered illegal in almost all countries in the world. However, cocaine has medical uses, but in order issue it medically you need a special license. If not for medical purposes, having cocaine for personal use is punishable by law. Both these drugs are considered dangerous because they can bring severe addiction to their users. 

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine, with an International Non-proprietary Name (INN) benzoylmethylecgonine, is extracted from the coca plant’s leaves. This drug is a stimulant (giving temporary physical or mental improvements with effects like alertness, feeling not hungry, and improved body movements) which directly affects the central nervous system. Cocaine has been one of the oldest drugs known and was labelled as a drug during the extensive use and abuse in 1980s and 1990s. If you can see, it is this same alertness that harms the user if cocaine is used as an addiction. It can harm the central nervous system in large and addictive amounts.

What is Heroin?

Heroin or diacetylmorphine (INN) is acquired through opium poppy, a plant from which poppy seeds and opium are extracted. This is also the source of other narcotic substance like papaverine, thebaine, and codeine. In 19th century, heroin was used as painkillers, but later on doctors prohibited its use due to its addictive quality. Heroin is so fast-acting that seconds after intake, through injection and/or smoking, the user will feel its euphoric effects.

What is the difference between Cocaine and Heroin?

Cocaine is known in the street market as Snow, Crack, Coke and Rock whereas Heroin too has many names in the street market including but not limited to Big H, Diesel, Junk and Thunder. Users of cocaine will experience euphoria or the feeling of happiness, hallucinations and paranoia while users of heroin will feel drowsy and wakeful alternatively just seconds after using it.

Since these two illegal drugs are highly abused and are commonly used by means of injection, the risk of users getting HIV and Hepatitis is very high. When using these drugs, there is a possibility that users will also use other kinds of drugs or alcohol which may lead to drug overdose which will eventually lead to death.


Cocaine vs Heroin

• Cocaine is popularly known in the street as crack or coke while heroin is known as the Big H and white junk.

• The International Non-proprietary Name (INN) for Cocaine is benzoylmethylecgonine while it is diacetylmorphine for Heroin.

• Users of cocaine will feel physical and mental alertness and improved body movements. In the case of heroin, users will feel euphoria or the feeling of happiness exaggeratedly. 

Despite these differences, one should focus more the similarity heroin and cocaine has, which is being dangerous addictive substances that can lead to death.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Cocaine and Crack
  2. Difference Between Fentanyl and Heroin