Difference Between Heroin and Crack
While using either heroin or crack can lead to frightening consequences, the two drugs are very different from one another, leading many people to wonder, “What is the difference between heroin and crack?”
Below is general information about the similarities and differences between heroin and crack.
Heroin is a powerful and highly addictive opioid that has contributed significantly to the opioid epidemic currently ravaging the United States. The drug is derived from the poppy plant and chemically similar to prescription opioid painkillers, which also contribute to the opioid epidemic. Typically, heroin is injected into the body with a needle.
When someone takes heroin or any other opioid, it binds to certain brain receptors called opioid receptors. This unleashes an unnatural flood of the feel-good brain chemical dopamine into the person’s system, so they feel a short-lived but euphoric high. Following that high, the person will experience drowsiness. This is because heroin is a depressant of the central nervous system (CNS). Heroin slows down the activity of the CNS, including essential functions like respiration. When someone overdoses on heroin it’s because their CNS has slowed to the point where it can’t function properly.
Heroin can very quickly change the brain of the people who use it regularly because of the way it activates their reward pathways, which is why it’s so addictive. Most people who use heroin also develop a physical dependence, and when they try to stop using the drug they experience severe withdrawal symptoms.
Crack is a drug made by processing cocaine with baking soda. It creates a crystallized, rock-like substance that’s usually smoked. Crack can take effect within just a few seconds, but the intense high often wears off within minutes. This is why a lot of people who use crack will continue using large amounts of crack over a short time to sustain a high.
Crack is a stimulant like cocaine, which means that when someone takes it, they experience a euphoric high, along with increased heart rate, dilated pupils and raised blood pressure. Other signs of crack use can include loss of appetite, insomnia and muscle twitching. Over time, crack can dramatically alter the chemical structure of the brain, leading to paranoia, anxiety, and psychosis.
- Heroin is a depressant that slows down the activity of the central nervous system. People who use heroin may seem slow, sluggish, disoriented or drowsy. It’s not uncommon for someone on heroin to nod off intermittently.
- Crack is a stimulant. This means that when someone uses this drug, they will seem energetic and experience symptoms like high blood pressure and increased heart rate.
- If someone overdoses on crack there’s usually no way to reverse the symptoms in many. In some cases, heroin overdoses can be reversed with a medication called Narcan.
- Heroin is usually injected, whereas crack is typically smoked.
Regardless of the differences between heroin and crack, it’s important to keep in mind that both drugs are highly addictive and dangerous. They are a cause of death for many people, and both should be avoided. While it can be difficult to recover from heroin or crack addiction, it’s possible with a professional detox and treatment program.
Have more questions about Heroin abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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