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patient education

Alcohol, Tobacco, Street Drugs and Sickle Cell Disease “A Harmful Combination”

key information

source: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

year: N/A


Cocaine: is a potent stimulant. It can cause your heart to race, and it can make you feel nervous and agitated. It can increase heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Street names include coke, snow, nose candy, flake blow, big C, lady, and snow birds.Cocaine increases the risk of major organ damage. It can cause stroke and even death in people with sickle cell disease.

Crack: is a solid (rock) form of cocaine that is smoked, which is known as freebasing. It has the same effects as cocaine in the body. It makes the blood vessels smaller and decreases blood flow throughout the body. This can increase blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate. It also has the risks associated with smoking, including shortness of breath, chest pains, and lung damage. It is highly addictive. Often, harmful chemicals are added to crack to create the rock form.

In addition to the above street drugs, using prescription drugs without your doctor’s advice can lead to addiction, severe damage to your body, and even death.

We understand that teens and young adults might feel more pressure from friends to drink, smoke, or take street drugs (drugs not prescribed by a doctor and obtained illegally). As a person with sickle cell disease, you need to know the extra health problems that alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs can cause in your body. We hope this fact sheet will help you make smart choices that will keep you as healthy as possible.

Alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs are harmful to everyone but especially to those with sickle cell disease. They can cause addiction and permanent damage to vital body organs. They can also disrupt your life in many ways.

Drinking, smoking, or the use of street drugs can lead to severe health problems for people with sickle cell disease (SCD).

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