Is Meth Worse Than Heroin?

is meth worse than heroin

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and fact-checked by an addiction expert.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and fact-checked by an addiction expert.

Table of Contents

Is meth worse than heroin? Today, these drugs have become commonly abused substances that have life-altering consequences.  Some consequences are considered more harmful than others, and there are still debates about whether meth is worse than heroin. Let’s find out.
Searching for help with drug and/or alcohol addiction? Call us now at (800) 643-2108.

What Are The Dangers Of Heroin?

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs that one can consume, especially due to its physically addictive nature.

The drug is often found in a powder form, but similar to meth, it is injected, smoked, snorted, or ingested. Heroin use also causes the same effects on the body as meth use. It leads to euphoria and intense happiness but mostly leaves users feeling relaxed and sleepy.

Heroin affects the part of your brain that controls pain and pleasure and suppresses it only to release pleasurable hormones.

According to the dose and frequency of consumption of heroin, the health risks and dangers worsen. Many individuals deal with many physical, psychological, and behavioral issues that become difficult for them to overcome or treat.

Some symptoms include;

Physical Symptoms

  • Itching, scabs, bruises, scratches, sores, or other damage to the skin
  • Respiratory problems including chest infections, flu-like symptoms, runny nose, watery eyes
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Malnutrition
  • Exhaustion
  • Pneumonia and tuberculosis
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Seizures
  • Blood clots
  • Loss of menstrual cycle in women

Psychological Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Feelings of hopelessness and despair
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Rageful outbursts
  • Poor decision-making
  • Impaired concentration or attention
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Suicidal thoughts and impulses

Heroin also poses a greater danger to those who take it intravenously since unhygienic use of needles can result in HIV or Hepatitis.

It can also cause blood and blood cancers or transfer diseases from one user to another. It can also lead to joblessness, homelessness, and an inability to stop using, eventually resulting in an overdose or death.

What Are The Dangers Of Meth?

Methamphetamine is an artificial substance that is highly addictive. The drug is meant to create a feeling of tranquility, calm, and euphoria in an individual. The drug is linked with many health diseases that can lead to an overdose or death.

The drug is used in many forms, such as smoking, snorting, or injecting. The methods by which the drug is consumed all have their risks. 

Human bodies have a natural chemical known as dopamine. The chemical is involved in motivation and body movements and makes us happy as a reward for achieving something. Meth increases the production of this chemical, which results in a euphoric, energetic, and hyper response.

Users chase this hyper response, and this drug’s addictiveness can take over rather quickly. 

Some short-term effects of meth include;

  • An increase in blood pressure
  • An increase in body temperature
  • A faster heartbeat that might be skipping a beat
  • Shallow, fast breathing
  • Loss of appetite or nausea
  • Loss of sleep
  • Behavioral changes such as increased aggression, irritability, and violence.

With long-term use, the health risks are bound to increase. Many meth users end up suffering from;

  • Permanent damage to their brain or heart
  • High blood pressure further results in strokes or heart attacks
  • Damage to the lungs, kidney, or liver depending on how the drug was used
  • Loss of teeth or dental problems
  • Mental health issues including anxiety, insomnia, paranoia, hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions, or violent behavior
  • Skin sores or constant itchiness.

To learn more, visit our in-depth resource about the long-term effects of meth use

Individuals developing chronic diseases or overdosing show the most significant danger of using meth.

Why One Is Not Worse Than The Other?

So, is meth worse than heroin? The truth is that while there are many differences, there is not much scientific evidence that states one drug is truly worse than the other.

The reality is that both of them have dangers and can destroy lives. 

When it comes to considering the physical effects of meth vs. heroin, it’s clear to see that meth results in some pretty awful physical decline. The drug makes you intensely skinny after some time, and meth ruins your teeth. 

Heroin also has some serious effects on health; it’s just that meth is pretty fast in how it destroys a person’s physical appearance.

Both heroin and meth have serious dangers. It’s not accurate to conclude that one is worse than the other. 

Why Do People Think One Is Worse Over The Other?

We often witness a comparison between drugs regarding which is worse. In many cases, drug abuse that is more common or can easily be recognized is considered worse. But in reality, silent drug abuse is just as great of a risk to the life of the user or your loved ones.

Sometimes, drug users try to convince themselves that one drug (the one they don’t use) is worse than another. For example, a meth user might say, “look at those heroin users. They’re always nodding out”. A heroin user might say, “look at those meth users, up all night acting paranoid!”. It’s a way to justify drug use that is fairly common among people who use drugs. 

A recent survey showed an increase in deaths related to drug overdose between 2019 and 2020. The overall increase in overdose-related deaths was 91,799, with a rise of 56,516 deaths due to opioids and 23,837 because of methamphetamine.

These statistics can further enhance the misconception of meth vs. heroin, one being worse. However, these numbers do not consider the ease of availability, the ease of treatment, and the fact that meth use is relatively easy to recognize.

In conclusion, we cannot state that any drug is worse than another. Substance abuse disorder is dangerous and deadly and needs to be treated timely. If you believe you need help or want to help a loved one, don’t hesitate to contact Cornerstone Healing Center.

Let us help you start your journey to recovery.

Get compassionate evidence- based and trauma focused substance abuse treatment in Arizona.

More Resources

Share across social: 



Susana is a recovery, mental health, and addiction education enthusiast with 8 years of experience in addiction recovery herself. Susana holds a Bachelor of Arts from the GCU College of Theology. She is anti-addiction stigma and believes accurate and factual information is essential to beginning the recovery process.
lionel estrada lisac clinical director



Lionel, a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC) with over 4 years at Cornerstone. Passionate about helping those with addiction, he has trained as an EMDR therapist  adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues of addiction, providing an empathetic approach to addiction.

Articles written prior to August 2023 were also clinically reviewed by Karen Williams, LPC 

Related Resources

Get Started Now

Call and speak with one of our caring team members about Addiction help for you or a loved one.