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Cardiovascular health can be adversely affected by a variety of factors including a lack of exercise, poor diet, inadequate sleep hygiene, and more. While these factors all pose a threat to the heart, drug use can be exceedingly dangerous for overall cardiovascular health. Drugs are explained as chemicals or substances that change the way one’s body works by affecting a person’s mental or physical state. Certain drugs can cause permanent harm to one’s heart, some of which are explained below.


Nicotine is a toxic, oily liquid. It is the psychoactive substance that accounts for the addictive properties of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes. According to the American Heart Association, nicotine can cause your blood pressure to increase, heart to race, arteries to narrow and it can increase the flow of blood to your heart. Research indicates that it can also contribute to the hardening of arteries, which can in turn lead to cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and possibly heart attack.


Alcohol use has complex effects on cardiovascular health and has been linked to the development of certain heart conditions. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. It can also contribute to cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle making it more difficult to pump blood to the rest of the body.


Cocaine, colloquially known as coke, is a highly addictive, fast-acting central nervous system stimulant. It speeds up your heart rate, leading to more oxygen demand on the heart. Cardiac complications resulting from cocaine use have been extensively studied and are linked to acute conditions such as arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), as well as chronic conditions such as cardiomyopathy and coronary artery disease (CAD).


Heroin is a rapidly acting opiate that is synthesized from morphine. The way heroin works is by attaching itself to opioid receptors in one’s body, which affect neurotransmitters and one’s pleasure and reward perceptions. Heroin also affects one’s ability to control heart rate, breathing, and sleeping. It can cause severe side effects like low blood pressure, slow breathing, low body temperature, and slower heart rate. Heroin contains toxins that can cause blockages in the veins and restrict blood in the cardiovascular system. Heroin use can lead to infective endocarditis, a life-threatening condition characterized by infections of the heart valves.


Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a synthetic, neuro-toxic stimulant that is highly addictive. Meth use can trigger your blood vessels to constrict and spasm, causing spikes in blood pressure. Methamphetamine use increases one’s risk of heart attack and stroke by three to five times. It can also cause heart problems such as cardiac arrhythmia, hypertrophy (thickening of the heart walls), and sudden cardiac arrest.

For Information and Support

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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