A cocaine user may abuse this drug many times and escape serious physical problems - he thinks. What he may not realize is that cocaine always creates severe stresses on the heart, arteries and veins. The heart beats faster, arteries and veins constrict and blood pressure increases. Every part of the cardiovascular system suffers damage from the increased strain.
Gradually, as more cocaine is used, the heart responds to this stress by thickening certain parts of the heart. A thickened heart is less flexible and pumps blood poorly. This thickened heart tissue can prevent the flow of blood to the heart muscle itself.
Cocaine abuse can be deadly all by itself. Most drug-related deaths result from the use of multiple drugs at one time, but cocaine kills more than its share of drug users all by itself.
For example, in the Atlanta area in 2010, 73% of all single-drug deaths resulted from cocaine. In Washington, D.C., nearly 60% of all single-drug deaths were caused by cocaine.
While thousands of people around the world have died from heart-related problems resulting from cocaine abuse, when the individual is an entertainer or sports figure, then more is known about the conditions of their deaths. For example:
Ted Demm: Hollywood director who died of a heart attack while playing a celebrity basketball game. He was 38 years old. An autopsy showed thickened heart tissue resulting from cocaine abuse.
John Entwistle: Bass guitarist for The Who until his death in 2002. Cause of death was determined to be a heart attack induced by cocaine abuse.
Bobby Hatfield: One of the Righteous Brothers. He died in 2003 with the autopsy report stating that an overdose of cocaine had triggered a heart attack.
Ike Turner: Musician, heavily addicted to cocaine for many years, at one time spending more than $56,000 a month on the drug. Died from a cocaine overdose.
David Waymer: Defensive back for the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Raiders. At the age of 34, died of a cocaine-induced heart attack.
A person using cocaine should know the risks to his health from the abuse of this drug.