While heroin and cocaine are not the same thing, they are both very addictive.

People tend to have a lot of questions and misconceptions about drugs. Many people wonder whether different drugs have the same effects as others. For example, they might wonder are heroin and coke the same thing?

The following provides an overview of heroin regarding similarities and differences it has with other commonly abused drugs.

Are Heroin and Cocaine the Same Thing?

There is one similarity to note when considering if heroin and cocaine the same thing: The fact that while heroin and cocaine are not the same, they are both very addictive. Further relating the two substances is the fact that both substances release dopamine when binding to opioid receptors in the brain.

While these are the primary similarities between the two drugs, there are many differences between the two. One major difference is the fact that cocaine often produces death in users through cardiotoxicity. With heroin, death is usually caused by respiratory depression. Cocaine doesn’t have an antidote for overdose, but heroin does. Also, one of the biggest differences is the fact that heroin is a depressant and cocaine is a stimulant.

Are Heroin and Crack the Same?

Crack, or crack cocaine, is a crystal form of cocaine, rather than the powder form of the drug (click here if you’re interested to know what crack looks like). This freebase form of cocaine can be smoked and it creates a brief, intense high. It’s also considered the most addictive form of cocaine.

So, are heroin and crack the same?

Heroin and crack are not the same. The differences are the same as the differences between heroin and cocaine, including the fact that heroin is a depressant and crack is a stimulant.

Are Heroin and Morphine the Same Drug?

Are heroin and morphine the same drug, or are heroin and morphine related? In many ways, heroin and morphine are related. However, there are differences as well. Morphine comes in powder or pill form and it’s used in a medical setting primarily. Morphine is an opium poppy extract. In comparison, heroin is not used medically and comes only in powder form. However, they are both parts of a family of drugs called opioids. In fact, heroin and morphine are related because heroin is derived from morphine and then it goes through synthesis to create the heroin that’s sold on the streets. Heroin even has the scientific name diacetylmorphine, which highlights its relationship with morphine.

When someone takes heroin, it is metabolized into morphine in the body, and the ways they work are similar to one another.

For example, both morphine and heroin can enter the brain freely, crossing the blood-brain barrier, but heroin just does so more quickly.

Also important to understand when answering questions like, “Are heroin and morphine the same drug?” and, “Are heroin and morphine the same?” is the fact that both substances release the chemical dopamine when they bind to the brain’s opioid receptors.

Are Heroin and OxyContin the Same?

OxyContin is an opioid prescription pain medicine that’s used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. As an opioid, OxyContin binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and releases a flood of dopamine that can create a euphoric rush, particularly when it’s abused. This effect is similar to that of heroin. However, unlike heroin, which is made from morphine (an extract from opium poppy plants), prescription opioids like OxyContin are made at least partially in a laboratory from synthetic opium poppy derivatives.

OxyContin is, as noted above, available by prescription but is frequently abused. Heroin, however, doesn’t have any medical uses in the United States.

So, are heroin and OxyContin the same? In some ways, they are the same, at least in how they impact the brain, but heroin is illegal in all circumstances and also tends to be more potent.

Are Heroin and Oxycodone the Same?

Another common question people have is, “Are heroin and oxycodone the same?”

Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, and it is available by prescription. Like OxyContin, it is made from synthetic plant derivatives. Like heroin, it binds to opioid receptors and can also be very addictive. However, heroin is completely illegal, and generally also more powerful.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Kevin Wandler, MD
Kevin Wandler holds multiple positions at Advanced Recovery Systems. In addition to being the founding and chief medical director at Advanced Recovery Systems, he is also the medical director at The Recovery Village Ridgefield and at The Recovery Village Palmer Lake. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.