British experts have warned that the belief in cocaine being a 'safe party drug' is nothing but a myth, as shown in a study which links the drug to 3 percent of sudden deaths.
British Heart Foundation researchers studied the data from southwest Spain and said the findings were a reminder that the drug can have devastating effects, and that the results should apply to Europe in general.
AdvertisementThe experts also stated that the deadly consequences of using cocaine can happen to anyone taking it.
"The reality is that there are risks every time you use it," the BBC quoted Fotini Rozakeas of the British Heart Foundation as saying.
"Cocaine can have devastating effects on the user including heart attacks, life-threatening heart rhythms, strokes and even sudden death.
"The potential deadly consequences from cocaine use can happen to anyone who takes it, even in previously young healthy people with no history of heart disease," Rozakeas said.
The study found that of the 668 sudden deaths, 21 were related to cocaine use, and that they occurred in men aged between 21 and 45.
Most involved problems with the heart and the majority of the men were also smokers who had been drinking alcohol at the time of taking cocaine.
Lead researcher Dr Joaquin Lucena, of the Institute of Legal Medicine in Seville, said these habits added up to a lethal cocktail for the heart.
"Our findings show that cocaine use causes adverse changes to the heart and arteries that then lead to sudden death," Lucena said.
His teams looked at post-mortem reports and investigated all the circumstances surrounding sudden deaths in Seville between 2003 and 2006.
Their findings suggested any amount of the drug could be toxic.
"Some patients have poor outcomes with relatively low blood concentrations, whereas others tolerate large quantities without consequences," they revealed.
The findings have been published in the European Heart Journal.