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Drug users count on Apple Watch, Fitbit to monitor heart rate during binges

It might not be the most obvious use for a wearable. But several Reddit and Twitter users say the devices help them slow down.

Jose Azel / Getty Images

Some people use their Apple Watch or Fitbit to track their health and exercise routines. Other people have found a different use: staying safe during drug binges. 

Several people on Reddit, Twitter and other social media platforms have been sharing stories about using their wearable devices to track their heart rate when using drugs such as cocaine, ketamine and speed, according to CNBC. If the device shows their heart rate has jumped to, say 150 bpm, after snorting cocaine, they'll probably know they should skip the next bump. 

Cocaine can lead to increased heart rate,  as well as constricted blood vessels and dilated pupils, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. One source for the CNBC story, a 20-something-year-old San Francisco techie referred to as Owen, said his Fitbit showed him having a resting heart rate of about 55. When that number jumps to 150 or 160, he knows to slow down.

"I can read information online, but that's not specific to me," Owen told the CNBC. "Watching your heart rate change on the Fitbit while doing cocaine is super real data that you're getting about yourself."

Medical professionals warn that using heart rate monitors to yourself protect from overdosing may provide a false sense of security, according to CNBC. Cardiologist Ethan Weiss told CNBC that blood pressure and heart rhythm, which can't be tracked by most wearable devices, are also impacted by cocaine. In addition, many heart rate monitors aren't as accurate as standard chest straps, one recent study found. 

Apple and Fitbit didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.