The effects of drugs on your heart

The effects of drugs on your heart

Many illegal drugs and so-called ‘legal highs’ affect the heart. As well as lots of other effects on your brain and body, they can cause raised blood pressure, increased heart rate, and an irregular heartbeat.

Drugs can have the following effects on your heart.

Increasing heart rate and blood pressure

The drugs that can put a strain on your heart causing irregular heartbeats, heart attacks and strokes are:

  • LSD (acid, blotter, liquid acid, micro dot, smilies, tabs, trips)  
  • Cocaine (coke, charlie, crack, snow, blow, spanky, bingo dust, marching powder, bongo, devils dandruff, nose bomb)
  • Amphetamines (speed, fet, base, billy, whizz)
  • Ketamine (Special K, K, ket)
  • Crystal meth (Ice, glass, Christine, Tina)
  • Mephedrone (meow meow, miaow miaow, MCAT, meph)
  • Cannabis  (hash, weed, grass, skunk, marijuana, dope, puff, ganja, pot, joint, reefer, kazoo, blunt, zoot)

Reducing heart rate and blood pressure

These drugs slow your breathing and possibly can stopping your heart.

  • GHB (GBH, liquid ecstasy)
  • Heroin (brown, skag, smack, gear, H)
  • Poppers (amyl nitrate, butyl nitrite, ram, thrust, liquid gold)

Risk of death from pulmonary oedema

The drugs that can cause a pulmonary oedema (when fluid flows back into your lungs causing extreme shortness of breath) are:

  • Amphetamines
  • Heroin

Risk of endocarditis

Endocarditis is a life-threatening heart condition caused by injecting drugs like:

  • Amphetamines
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine

Irregular heartbeats and black-outs

This can possibly cause sudden death.

  • Sniffing solvents such as glue

Heart disease

  • Cannabis when mixed with tobacco and smoked

Legal highs can also cause many of the effects described above. Just because they’re not illegal doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. All drugs have many other side effects and affect everybody differently.

Useful links

Talk to Frank

T: 0800 776 600