Sudden Deaths from Cocaine Use

Cocaine is a deadly drug and people who become addicted inevitably start “small” by using it casually. No one plans on becoming addicted to cocaine yet millions of people are. No one plans on a fatal overdose from cocaine but it happens all the time.

Cocaine has long been glamorized as a recreational drug from the halcyon days of disco and Studio 54, all the way to today’s Hollywood stars and celebrities.  Those who use it seem to be in a state of euphoria and the ones who are having the best time at the party.  The reality is that it is a very addictive and deadly drug and many who use it develop a dependency over time.  Some feel they are able to use it “safely” or only in social situations.  However, a new study has reaffirmed the belief that there is no safe way to use cocaine and that any amount could turn out to be a quick and sudden killer.

Sudden Death from Cocaine – The Study

A recent study conducted by doctors at the Forensic Pathology Service at the Institute of Legal Medicine (Seville, Spain) and published in the European Heart Journal shows that more than 3% of all sudden deaths that occurred in south-west Spain were attributed to cocaine usage.  The forensic pathologists who conducted the study believe that this finding can be applied to all of Europe as well (and probably the rest of the world), pointing to a rampant cocaine abuse problem in the continent.  Even in small amounts, cocaine can kill at any time.

The researchers looked at sudden deaths between the years 2003 and 2006 and analyzed entire circumstances surrounding those deaths, including (for each person):
•    Testing of urine and blood for traces of toxic substances
•    Studying of organs, with a focus on the cardiovascular system and toxicology
•    Gathering of substance abuse history
•    Looking at the circumstances of the death and investigating the death scene

What the researchers discovered was:
•    Of the 668 sudden deaths in those years, 21 of them (3.1%) were traced to the use of cocaine
•    They all occurred to males between the ages of 21 and 45
•    Most of the deaths related to cocaine use were due to issues stemming from the heart and its related systems

Conclusions from the Study

Dr Joaquín Lucena, who led the study, believes the findings show that “cocaine use causes adverse changes to the heart and arteries that then lead to sudden death.”  The team feels that any amount of cocaine has the potential for toxicity.  The lethal amount depends on the person and is unknown until it is too late.

The team discovered that:
•    81% of those that died from cocaine usage also smoked
•    76% of those that died from cocaine usage also drank

Smoking and drinking both are associated with heart disease.  Mixing either or both with cocaine is considered a “lethal cocktail” that leads to the development of premature heart disease.  Because those who use cocaine probably also use other drugs, illicit or legal, the risk of sudden death is exacerbated.

Do Not Take the Risk – Get Help Today

The study confirms that even recreational use of cocaine is not safe.  The smallest amount could cause tragic outcomes, especially if you are using it in combination with drinking and smoking.  If you have a long cocaine habit, death can occur at any time, due to the dangerous effects the drug has on your heart.  No matter how much cocaine you feel you can handle each time, the next time could be different.  Get help for your cocaine problem today.

Click here to read more about cocaine abuse.

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