Deadly Dangers of Cocaine Use

By: Jan Garavaglia, M.D.

Cocaine is the most commonly abused illicit drug Dr. G encounters in the morgue. Here she shares the killer effects of cocaine use on the body and mind:

Body Systems and Organs Affected Complications
Cardiovascular Sudden cardiac death with as little at 20 mg; heart attack, rupture of the aorta, irregularities in the heart's rhythm, cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle), high blood pressure

Neurological Stroke, inflammation of blood vessels in the brain, headache, bleeding in the brain, seizures, and partial or complete loss of consciousness

Pulmonary Chronic cough, lung irritation, collapsed lungs, pulmonary edema or hemorrhage, lung inflammation

Ear, nose, and throat Hoarseness, destruction of nasal structures, colds, and sinusitis

Psychiatric Anxiety, agitation, delirium, paranoia, suicide, severe depression, violent behavior

Infectious complications AIDS (via contaminated needles), endocarditis (bacterial infection of the heart valves), tetanus, viral hepatitis due to IV use

Other Hyperthermia (unusually high body temperature), muscle injury, kidney failure, intermittent loss of feeling in the extremities, tremors, intestinal ischemia (death of part of the intestine due to loss of blood)

Excerpted from How Not to Die by Jan Garavaglia, M.D.
Copyright © 2008 by Atlas Media Corp. and Jan Garavaglia, M.D.
Permission granted by Crown Publishers, New York, NY