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Cocaine vs. Heroin

Cocaine and Heroin are two of the most addictive drugs in modern times; the laymen often think that these are the products originated from similar plants, but that is not so. The heroin is originated from the poppy plants, whereas the cocaine is derived from the Coca plant. The thing which adds up to the confusion among people is that both these substances belong to the similar kingdom, division, and class. The Cocaine is a crystalline whitish color substance that glimmers little bit when exposed to the light. On the other hand, heroin doesn’t have a crystal like appearance; in the purest form it is white and can also appear rose gray or brown color. As these substances also have usage in severe medical conditions, they are classified in the opiates and depressants category.

Key Differences

Cocaine can cause immediate death through cardiotoxicity, whereas heroin may cause fatality due to respiratory depression.
Cocaine is originated from the Coca plant while heroin is derived from the poppy plant.
Heroin has naloxone as the antidote while cocaine does not have one.
Samantha Walker
Jul 13, 2017
South America is the largest producer of the cocaine, whereas Afghanistan is the largest producer of heroin.
The cocaine is the white crystalline powder that may glimmer when exposed to the light. Contrary to this, heroin maybe white or brown in color, but it is not crystalline in shape.

Comparison Chart


From Coca Plant.
From Poppy Plant.

Largest Producer

South America


Through cardiotoxicity.
Respiratory depression.


Aimie Carlson
Jul 13, 2017


White-crystalline powder.
Non-crystalline, may be white or brown in color.

Cocaine and Heroin Definitions


A colorless or white crystalline alkaloid, C17H21NO4, extracted from coca leaves, sometimes used in medicine as a local anesthetic especially for the eyes, nose, or throat and widely used as an illicit drug for its euphoric and stimulating effects.


A white, odorless, bitter crystalline compound, C21H23NO5, that is derived from morphine and is a highly addictive illegal narcotic. Also called diacetylmorphine.


An addictive drug derived from coca (Erythroxylum) or prepared synthetically, used sometimes medicinally as a local anesthetic and, often illegally, as a stimulant.


A powerful and addictive drug derived from opium producing intense euphoria. Classed as an illegal narcotic in most of the world.


(countable) Any derivative of cocaine.


A morphine derivative, diacetyl morphine, used to relieve severe pain and as a sedative. It is highly addictive, and its use is strictly controlled in the U.S. by federal law. It is a popular strong narcotic drug of abuse, in part because it is more soluble than morphine. It is sometimes included as one of the components of Brompton's mixture, used to control pain in terminallly ill patients.


A powerful narcotic alkaloid, C17H21NO4, obtained from the leaves of coca. It is a bitter, white, crystalline substance, and is remarkable for producing local insensibility to pain. It is classified as addictive and is not available in the U. S. without a prescription, but is nevertheless one of the most widespread illegal drugs of abuse. It is used in several forms, including small pellets of free base, called crack. Most of the cacaine illegally used in the U.S. is imported.


A narcotic that is considered a hard drug; a highly addictive morphine derivative; intravenous injection provides the fastest and most intense rush


A narcotic (alkaloid) extracted from coca leaves; used as a surface anesthetic or taken for pleasure; can become powerfully addictive

What is Cocaine?

The cocaine is one of the most addictive and the lethal drug which can result in the death of the person immediately through cardiotoxicity. This white powder or the crystalline substance is originated from the coca plant, and it is largely produced in the South America. Experts believe that cocaine is one of the oldest drugs in the modern times. This drug, which was once limited to South America in a late 20th century has now expanded to all across the globe. The absence of antidote for toxicity makes it a dangerous drug as it can lead to the immediate death of the person by producing progressive arrhythmias. It is often associated with the term ‘upper’ as unlike the drugs like heroin and marijuana it makes the person feel euphoric and overly happy. The cocaine is said to the recreational drug as it makes the person enthusiastic and overly happy. The non-regular users of cocaine may suffer the issues like fast heart rate and excessive sweating within minutes after the usage. The possession of this drug is prohibited worldwide, and those breaching the law are punishable. The effect of the cocaine is straight away on the Central Nervous System (CNS), which directly witnesses the differences in the process like heart rate and sweating. As it is taken from the coca plant, same like from where the coffee is taken; they perform quite the similar function of stimulation in the human body. In the local drug markets, the cocaine is named as the Snow, Coke, Rock and others. In the most common intake, the cocaine is snorted, whereas it can be inhaled or even injected into the vein after making its solution.

What is Heroin?

The Heroin is also one of the most addictive drugs, which even has a higher dependency rate than the other drugs like alcohol and cocaine. This drug is originated from the poppy plant and is home to the Asian countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now this drug is equally popular across the globe and possesses million of addicts. As mentioned above it has the highest dependency rate; it won’t be wrong to term it as the ‘slow poison’ as it slows down the person and takes him I the overly relaxed state of mind. Therefore, heroin is regarded as the ‘downer.’ It can cause the respiratory depression which can end up the life of the individual by suffocation. The heroin overdose is treated with naloxone and a complete medication process many include methadone along with it. This brownish color drug is commonly injected into the vein, although it can also be smoked or snorted. Unlike, cocaine, it doesn’t give up a numbing effect on the tongue, but the thing which makes it more dangerous is that it lands the user in the overly relaxed condition, where his CNS slows down, and it results in the slower working off a different process. In the drug market, the heroin goes up with the names like Big H, Thunder, and Diesel. It will be relevant to mention here that at first, heroin was effectively used as the painkiller, but now this has become one of the most addictive drugs which slow down the processes around you.

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