Person thinking about drug abuse and heart failure

Does Drug Abuse Cause Heart Failure?

Studies show that the vast majority of illegal drugs may harm your heart. The cardiovascular effects of abusing drugs can range from an abnormal heart rate to a fatal heart attack. Sadly, drug abuse and heart failure often go hand-in-hand, so finding the substance abuse treatment program that works for you is critical. Contact The Right Step Houston online or call 1.844.768.0169 to learn how our professional team can help you start your recovery journey today.

About Drug Abuse and Heart Failure

While drug abuse and heart disease walk a treacherous path together, drug use and abuse can also lead to additional problems in and around your heart, like collapsed veins and bacterial infections in the valves of your heart. 

Drug abuse and heart failure aren’t tied to a single illegal drug. Many drugs, including cocaine and heroin, affect the central nervous system and can potentially impact your consciousness and heart health. In addition to addiction, drug abuse may cause problems to your:

  • Relationships
  • Work and career
  • School
  • Homelife
  • Mental health

Sadly, most individuals using drugs fail to understand that the use of illicit drugs and the abuse of prescription drugs can and likely will cause damage to their emotional and physical health, including their heart.

Drugs Likely to Cause a Heart Attack

Abusing powerfully addictive drugs like opioids, painkillers, or cocaine can mean walking a one-way street to severe and potentially irreversible physical and mental health conditions. The human heart and the body’s cardiovascular system are highly vulnerable to the effects of drugs. 


Opioid use causes dramatic changes in the heart’s rhythm, which can potentially increase the risk of a heart attack or a stroke. This means that you can suffer from drug abuse and heart failure when using:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl

Those four drugs are the most common causes of cardiac arrest, and the mortality rate in cardiac arrest patients with opioid use is well over 50%.


Cocaine is a stimulant that is considered by the medical community to be the perfect heart attack drug. This is because cocaine will speed up your heart rate, increasing the demand for oxygen in the heart. Individuals using cocaine may also have higher blood pressure, stiffer arteries, and thicker heart muscle walls, all of which are issues that can and do cause heart attacks.


Marijuana abuse also puts you at risk for a heart attack. Smoking pot can cause sudden increases in your heart rate and blood pressure, affecting how your blood clots. When combined with other drugs like cocaine or alcohol, the risks of marijuana are even more significant.


Heroin is a highly addictive, dangerous opioid that can cause severe side effects like low blood pressure, slow breathing, low body temperature, and a slower heart rate. This is a recipe for drug abuse and heart failure. Heroin contains toxins that can cause blockages in the veins and restrict blood in the cardiovascular system, but what’s worse is that when heroin is used in combination with other drugs that also slow your breathing, the results can be fatal. Ongoing use of heroin causes what is known as “heroin heart,” which means the heart valves get infected, which can lead to death.


Moreso than other toxins you may be abusing, the effects of alcohol on your heart will largely depend on how much and how often you drink and how long you’ve been drinking. Alcohol raises a person’s blood pressure and triglyceride levels, which may lead to problems with your coronary arteries, weaken and thin the heart muscles, and affect blood clotting and heart rate. 

Learn More About Drug Abuse and Heart Failure in Texas with The Right Step Houston

You don’t have to suffer from drug abuse and heart disease. Help is available through professional, caring substance abuse treatment programs designed with you in mind. The Right Step Houston can be the first stop in reclaiming your life and repairing the damage caused by drugs. Contact The Right Step Houston today at 1.844.768.0169 to learn more.

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