Cocaine vs. Heroin

What is the difference between cocaine and heroin? Two of the most addictive illegal drugs are cocaine and…

What is the difference between cocaine and heroin?

Two of the most addictive illegal drugs are cocaine and heroin. The production, possession and distribution of these drugs are illegal all over the world. Both come from plants, but the plants are different for each drug.

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of the cocoa plant. The INN (International Neoproprietary Name of the drug is benzoylmethylecgonine. It is a stimulant that provides temporary effects on the nervous system, such as an increase in alertness, physical and mental abilities and it suppresses the appetite. It also produces a feeling of euphoria that can turn into depression when the effects of the drug wear off. It is one of the oldest drugs but was not named an illegal substance until the it became one that was abused in the last few decades of the 20th century.

What is heroin?

Heroin comes from the opium poppy, a plant that also produces other opiates such as codeine, papaverine, and thebaine. The INN of this drug is diacetylmorphine. It was used as a painkiller in the world of medicine but because of its highly addictive nature, doctors stopped using it for this purpose.  It is so fast-acting that within seconds after taking it the user will feel the effects.

How cocaine and heroin differ

Cocaine has several street names such as Coke, Crack, Snow and Rock. Heroin also has several names on the street such as Big H, Diesel, Junk and Thunder. The effects of both are different. Cocaine causes an increased alertness and sense of euphoria, but heroin causes sleepiness.

These two drugs are addictive and illegal. Both are abused and when taken by injection the chances of getting HIV and Hepatitis are very great. Users may also graduate to use other more powerful and more dangerous drugs when their bodies develop a tolerance to cocaine and heroin. Drug overdose of both can lead to death.


  1. Cocaine has street names such as Coke and Crack. Heroin has street names such as Big H and Diesel.
  2. The INN for cocaine is benzoylmethylecgonine and the INN for heroin is diacetylmorphine.
  3. The effects of cocaine are increased alertness, but the effects of heroin are the opposite.


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