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The Effects of Recreational Drugs on the Cardiovascular System

The Effects of Recreational Drugs on the Cardiovascular System

While drug abuse can lead to noticeable physical changes, there is a lot going on inside the body as well. You may only be focused on that high, but your drug habit could be killing your heart.

What Do Drugs Do to Your Heart

Even prescription drugs can have problematic side effects, so it is no surprise that long-term drug abuse can wreak havoc on a person’s heart and cardiovascular system. The drug effects on the heart and cardiovascular system can range from mild to severe and will depend on a variety of factors. Along with the type of drug being abused, the dosages, and the length of the abuse, there can be individual differences as well. A person’s medical history, family genetics, and the medications they are taking can all have an impact, but regardless of how healthy you think you are, drug abuse can have lasting negative effects on your health. If you or someone you know is abusing drugs, our Pompano addiction treatment center wants to help you quit before you start to notice the negative effects of drugs on your heart and the damage cannot be undone. 

Some of the possible effects of recreational drugs on the cardiovascular system may include:

  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Collapsed veins from I.V. drug use
  • Bacterial infections in blood vessels and heart valves
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack1

Cocaine’s Effects on the Heart

In particular, cocaine can lead to severe heart damage. As a stimulant, this drug increases the body’s heart rate and blood temperature. Regular use can lead to complications and changes in the heart like higher blood pressure (hypertension), arrhythmia, stiffer arteries, thicker heart wall muscles, and coronary artery aneurysms (enlarged coronary arteries).2,3 All of these changes can lead to heart attacks and have earned cocaine the nickname, the perfect heart attack drug. If you find yourself addicted to this drug, get cocaine addiction treatment before you have a heart attack.

Signs of Heart Damage from Drugs

Especially if you are a long-time abuser of illicit drugs, you need to be aware of the effects of recreational drugs on the cardiovascular system and be wary of the initial signs of heart damage from drugs including:

  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Needle tracks or scaring of veins
  • Heart palpitations
  • Blueish extremities

If you experience any of these issues, it is important to not only quit your drug abuse immediately, but also consult a doctor. Ignoring these signs of heart damage from drugs could lead to heart attack and even death. Instead of putting your heart and life at risk, get help now. Our partial hospitalization program in Pompano could just save your life or the life of your loved one.

At Banyan Treatment Centers Pompano, we help people overcome their substance abuse problems so that they can start moving forward with their lives once more.

Get help before the damage becomes too great. Call us today at 954-787-2569. to get started.


  1. NIH – Health Consequences of Drug Misuse- Cardiovascular Effects
  2. ScienceDaily – Recreational cocaine use linked to conditions that cause heart attack
  3. NCBI – Acute and Chronic Effects of Cocaine on Cardiovascular Health
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.