Which is Worse, Cocaine or Heroin?

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When it comes to cocaine and heroin, the various and harmful effects these drugs have on the body when overused are well documented. Substance abuse of both drugs is common and on the rise. There are, unfortunately, general misconceptions that one drug is often “better” or “safer” than the other, and these perceptions can lead people to try a drug that is still incredibly dangerous and addictive.

The Facts About Cocaine

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), cocaine is a powerful, stimulant drug that can alter brain structure and is used to “block” pain. Cocaine can be administered by a doctor for legitimate medical purposes such as anesthesia, but is illegal in all other instances due to its high probability for abuse.

American Addiction Centers has listed several dangers of cocaine use that include:

  • Overdose
  • HIV infection
  • Hepatitis B or C infection
  • Mood disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Respiratory illness
  • Memory loss
  • Nose collapse
  • Stroke
  • Seizure
  • Gastrointestinal disease

The United Nations Office on Drug and Crime estimated that 14.21 million people worldwide were abusing cocaine in 2012, and that number is still a concern today.

The Facts About Heroin

Heroin, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed of a poppy plant primarily found in South America. The NIH states that “black tar” heroin is a sticky, tar-like substance that is dark in color due to crude processing methods that leave behind impurities. This drug can be dissolved, diluted, or injected. WebMD claims that because heroin reaches the brain quickly, users can become addicted after just one or two uses.

Health risks of heroin abuse include:

  • Collapsed veins
  • Infections of the heart lining and valves
  • Skin infections such as abscesses and cellulitis
  • HIV infection
  • Hepatitis B or C infection
  • Lung disease like pneumonia or tuberculosis
  • Miscarriage

The NIH reported in 2012 that approximately 669,000 Americans were abusing heroin, and this is still a major issue.

How Heroin & Cocaine Differ

From comparing the two, it’s clear the damaging effects are rather similar – extreme damage to the body is plausible, and extreme overdose could even lead to death. Both are proven to be very dangerous and addictive, but they do differ.

For instance, cocaine is an upper — it is used as a stimulant, while heroine is a downer and when used with depress your central nervous system. Cocaine increases the nervous system, and when people die from using it, it’s due to cardiotoxicity — whereas when people die from abusing heroin it is often the result of respiratory depression. While both of these drugs are extremely habit-forming, heroin is the more addictive of the two.

Recovery Is Possible

If you or someone you know is addicted to drugs, recovery is still possible. Our facilities at Avalon Malibu will ensure you are well taken care of – we are a world-renowned, California state licensed residential addiction and mental health treatment center dedication to your well-being and recovery. We believe in holistic, integrative treatment, focusing on the mind, body, and spirit. 

Call us today at 855-392-9791 to begin your journey towards recovery

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