Early-Onset Cardiovascular Disease From Cocaine, Amphetamines, Alcohol, and Marijuana

Can J Cardiol. 2022 Sep;38(9):1342-1351. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2022.06.027. Epub 2022 Jul 14.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD), a disease typically associated with aging and the definitive leading cause of death worldwide, now threatens young and middle-aged populations. Recreational abuse of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamine-type stimulants has been an escalating public health problem for decades, but now use of these substances has become a significant contributor to early-onset CVD. While this remains a global phenomenon, the epicentre of substance abuse is rooted in North America, where it has been exacerbated by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time in history, the United States crossed 100,000 overdose-related deaths in a calendar year. Sadly, Canada's recreational drug abuse problem closely mirrors that of the US. This is indicative of the larger public health crisis, as we now know that these substances are cardiotoxic and are contributing to the rising levels of premature chronic CVD, including hypertension, arrhythmias, heart failure, stroke, myocardial infarction, arterial dissection, sudden cardiac death, and early mortality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamines / adverse effects
  • COVID-19*
  • Cannabis* / adverse effects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / chemically induced
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Cocaine* / adverse effects
  • Ethanol
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • United States


  • Amphetamines
  • Ethanol
  • Cocaine