Heroin and cocaine are two substances that see extensive abuse in Rhode Island. According to CNN, they rank respectively at numbers one and two as the most addictive substances in the world. Sometimes they even look similar, as each can take the form of white powder. 

However, although cocaine and heroin may be similar in appearance and abuse potential, they are actually very different from one another in significant ways. 

Classes 

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, cocaine and heroin belong to entirely different classes of drugs. Cocaine is a stimulant that produces a rush of euphoria. Heroin, on the other hand, is a narcotic. Although some users report feeling a similar rush when first taking heroin due to the speed with which it takes effect, this soon gives way to a feeling of calm and drowsiness. 

Schedules 

Cocaine and heroin are both controlled substances, meaning that there are restrictions on who can legally access them. Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance because it has some limited medical use. Rarely, cocaine may treat bleeding of the mucous membranes or provide upper respiratory anesthesia. However, there are other medications that perform the same functions more successfully. 

Heroin, on the other hand, has no accepted medical uses. Because of this, combined with its high abuse potential, it is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning that doctors cannot prescribe it to patients. 

Effects on the body 

Cocaine causes the pupils to dilate and the heart rate and blood pressure to increase. It can produce a loss of appetite and insomnia. In many ways, heroin has the opposite effect. It causes the pupils to constrict and produces sleepiness. It can also cause dry mouth, nausea and respiratory depression, meaning that breathing becomes more shallow.