Dangerous Effects of Cocaine

heart with ekg image

Cocaine is a very strong stimulant, and thus places heavy stress on the heart and vascular system. Chronic cocaine use can lead to hardened arteries, a factor in the death of Whitney Houston. Cocaine use can also create enough stress to cause seizures and cardiac arrest, as it did for young basketball player Len Bias, the night after he was recruited by the Boston Celtics. Before he died in 1986, the country was largely unaware that cocaine abuse could result in death.

Each year, about a half million people arrive at Emergency Rooms to get help for problems with cocaine abuse. More than 160,000 people go to rehab to get help for cocaine addiction. Since only about one in ten people get rehab help who need it, this indicates that 1.6 million people are probably addicted to the drug. More than a thousand school-aged children need rehab for cocaine abuse each year.

Some other dangerous effects of cocaine:

  • Convulsions
  • Strokes
  • Organ breakdown from increased body temperature
  • Malnutrition due to loss of appetite.
  • Communicable diseases such as HIV or hepatitis from shooting cocaine


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