When someone uses heroin, which is derived from poppy plant resin, the drug binds to the person’s opioid receptors, which creates a euphoric high and also a sense of deep relaxation. People become physically and psychologically dependent on heroin quickly as it causes increased production of the feel-good chemical dopamine and alters the brain’s reward pathways.
Heroin is dangerous not only because of its effects on the brain and body. However, it’s also usually injected via needle, which leaves people vulnerable to infections and blood-borne diseases.
When people become physically dependent on heroin and attempt to stop use, they tend to go through withdrawal and feel ill.
So what is the best way to describe cocaine?
Cocaine can be injected, consumed orally or snorted. The use of cocaine can lead to serious side effects or death from respiratory failure, stroke or heart attack. Despite the dangers of cocaine, it remains widely used.
The two drugs have opposite effects — heroin depresses the central nervous system while cocaine speeds up internal transmissions and other functions. A person may take cocaine to combat drowsiness caused by heroin.
When someone takes heroin and cocaine together, the potency is much higher and there is an increased risk of overdose.
When people die from heroin, it’s usually the result of respiratory depression, while with cocaine it’s because of cardiotoxicity, also called damage to the heart. While it is possible to inject cocaine, most people snort it, while heroin is primarily injected.
- Heroin is a depressant of the central nervous system while coke is a stimulant
- Both can be extremely addictive but have different effects
- Each can result in severe injury or death