Illicit drugs and the heart

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Illicit Drugs

So there are some drugs that you don’t buy from the pharmacy that can be very bad for the heart. And the three worst ones are cocaine, speed and heroin. So both cocaine and speed or any kind of amphetamine can provoke both heart attack, and a terribly fast heart rhythm called tachycardia. In fact, in the USA cocaine is the number one cause of heart attack in people under 40, more so even than cigarette smoking. And heroin is very bad for the heart because it’s injected into a vein, and if someone is inadvertently using an infected or a dirty needle, they can get an infection in the heart, and if they do, that’s got an extremely high risk of causing premature death.

Professor David Celermajer is Scandrett Professor of Cardiology and Head of Cardiology at the University of Sydney.