Scientists in Sydney have found that even casual cocaine use can damage the heart. A study by from the universities of Sydney, New South Wales and the Royal North Shore Hospital found that people who regularly used cocaine, about once a week, had serious heart problems.
The study reported casual cocaine users had significantly higher blood pressure and arterial hardening than people who abstain from cocaine use. The cocaine users blood pressure remained high even after 48 hours of abstaining.
Lead researcher Professor Gemma Figtree, from the University of Sydney said, "While some people who use cocaine recreationally may not think that they are doing their body a lot of harm, our results show this is not the case and that cocaine is dangerous for your health even when taken socially."
While this study is by no means definitive, it is a good indicator that cocaine can cause some real health problems even for causal users. This is in opposition to many peoples belief that cocaine is relatively safe if it is not overused.
If the findings of the study are correct, then casual cocaine use can be linked tissue death, heart attack, stroke or death due to hardening arteries. When the arteries harden, blood clots may form in narrow blood vessels. These clots can damage or destroy the tissue that relies on blood flowing through the narrow artery. If the clots break loose, they can cause strokes or heart attacks.
High blood pressure can further increase your risk of heart attacks or strokes. It also increases the overall risk for heart disease. If casual cocaine use really does artificially elevate blood pressure, it could be implicated in any number of health problems.
While more research is needed, these new revelations could put an end to the idea that cocaine is a “safe drug”
To learn more about cocaine, check out the Life Works Knowledge Centre.