Understanding the Dangers of Snorting Opiates

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According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, opiate abuse is on the rise all over the world. One of the more popular means of abusing opiates is snorting them. This is also known as nasal insuffalation which involves crushing the drug into a fine powder, and sniffing it through a tube-shaped instrument into the nose or directly off a surface such as the back of the hand or toilet.

There are inherent dangers when abusing any drug, and snorting drugs greatly increases the risks involved. Opiates are no exception. This makes understanding the dangers of snorting opiates very important. In order to understand the risks involved you must understand the difference between snorting and ingesting opiates, why people choose to snort these drugs, and the physical and mental dangers of such substance abuse.

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What are the Differences between Snorting and Ingesting Opiates?

dangers of drug use

Snorting opioids can lead to addiction, overdose, and more.

There are a few major differences between snorting and ingesting an opiate. These differences are:

  • Physical form – an ingested opiate is generally found in pill form where as it is powdered when snorted.
  • More dangerous – according to The National Institute on Drug Abuse changing the way an opiate is delivered makes it more dangerous. Ingesting opiates such as pain killers is relatively safe, when the form is changed it increases the likelihood of dangerous side effects including overdose. This is particularly true with time-release painkillers such as hydrocodone.
  • Quicker high – some people say the drug’s effects are faster when the opiate is snorted.
  • More powerful high – Although this is not substantiated, users say that the high is better when snorted versus just taking a pill.
  • Solves tolerance issues – If a person builds a tolerance ingesting an opiate, the high produced by snorting may reduce the amount of the opiate needed to get high. This alone is the reason why many people start snorting an opiate.

These differences are similar to the differences between snorting and ingesting most other drugs. Many people believe that snorting any drug gives you a faster more powerful high, this belief makes them more likely to try snorting opiates. Snorting opiates is also preferable to injecting them due to the constant warnings about and social stigma of HIV and Aids related infections.

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Why Do People Choose to Snort Opiates?

People choose snorting opiates for many reasons. Many of these reasons are what make snorting opiates more dangerous than ingesting them in their pill form. The different forms of opiates also lend themselves to snorting. Most opiates come in either a pill or powdered form thus they are easily crushed or are already in a form ready to be snorted without any additional modifications.

Why is Snorting Opiates More Dangerous?

Snorting opiates is more dangerous because the high is more attractive. The promise of a faster more powerful high is one of the main reasons why people start snorting opiates instead of injecting or ingesting them. The quicker more powerful high is very attractive to most drug users. Unfortunately, the same reason is why they are more dangerous. When a drug is snorted, the drug enters the blood faster. When an opiate enters the blood faster, more of the drug crosses the blood brain barrier at a higher rate. This makes both the high and the negative effects more powerful.

The Dangers of Snorting Opiates

Opiates are dangerous for a variety of reasons. Snorting opiates puts people at a greater risk because they enter the body and the brain faster. The dangers of snorting opiates can be divided into three categories, physical, mental, and social.

Physical dangers of snorting opiates:

  • Birth defects – according to the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention some of the birth defects are spina bifida, hydrocephaly, and heart defects.
  • Bone pain
  • Nose bleeds
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia – inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Hypoxia – decreased blood flow to the brain due to lung damage or the drug itself. This damage is sometimes long term and can result in death.
  • Brain damage
  • Cartilage damage to the nasal passages
  • Damage to the esophagus and trachea
  • Lung damage
  • Facial damage and cosmetic issues
  • Snorting any drug increases the chances of overdose

Mental dangers of snorting opiates:

  • Paranoia – thinking of feeling that someone or something is after you
  • Depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Dependence – inability to stop taking the drug without serious complications
  • Anxiety – long term anxiety can lead to panic attacks and panic disorder
  • Restlessness – the feeling of needing move, do something unspecified, or twitching
  • Psychosis – eventual mental decay away from reality

Social dangers of snorting opiates:

  • Legal problems – arrest, incarceration, and legal fees due to charges of possession, distribution, and transport
  • Relationship problems – alienation of friends and family
  • Financial problems – increasing costs to maintain an opiate habit, loss of job or income due to habitual tardiness or absence from work

Some of these dangers are not specific to snorting opiates but are more severe after snorting the drug. As with any form of drug use, the dangers are life pervasive. It affects all aspects of a person’s life and wellbeing.

The main danger of snorting opiates is its seductive nature. Despite knowing all of the negative aspects, the euphoric feeling of the drug is too powerful for some to avoid. When that feeling is sudden and amplified by snorting it is even more difficult to resist. The highly addictive properties and severe withdrawal symptoms make opiates very difficult to stop. With movie stars, high profile figures, and peers snorting opiates, there is an intense pressure to do so. We can help you overcome an addiction to opiates. Call 800-584-3274 toll free anytime.


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