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Snorting opiates

Is snorting opiates effective vs taking opiates orally? Can snorting opiates get you high? What dangers are present and can they be avoided? More on snorting opiates and its effects here.

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If you’re thinking about snorting opiates, you should know what happens. Here we review what happens in the body while snorting opiates, as well as the dangers and safety concerns of snorting opiates. We welcome questions about snorting opiates or about treatment for opiate addiction at the end of this article, and will try to answer all legitimate questions with a personal reply.

Opiates: What are you really snorting?

Opiates are illicit or prescription drugs usually used to treat moderate to severe pain. While many street opiates cannot be regulated, opiates tablets with codeine or morphine might also include inactive ingredients such as colloidal silicon dioxide, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, and stearic acid, and coloring agents.

How does snorting opiates affect the body?

Opiate effects are primarily on the central nervous system.Opiates alter the body’s perception of pain by binding to opiate receptors in the brain. This also causes feelings of euphoria, along with dizziness, lightheadedness, and even mood changes.

Snorting opiates to get high

Snorting opiates causes large amounts of the particular drug to instantly enter the bloodstream through the nose. This can be dangerous, causing opiates to be absorbed in higher amounts than normally taken.The large doses an cause you to abruptly stop breathing and can even kill you. Opiates mixed with alcohol are often snorted under the influence of alcohol, which would have extreme side effects. With the extended-release versions of opiates or opioids (synthetic variations of opiates), this becomes even more dangerous. Even if you can tolerate the high doses of opiates, you can experience a higher rate of adverse effects when these narcotics are snorted.

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Snorting opiates vs oral

Narcotic pain medications can be taken orally, nasally, and even intravenously. Oral preparations are safer, because the dose is more controlled. Snorting opiates causes the effects to come on more rapidly, providing almost immediate pain relief and euphoric effects. This quick rush is also dangerous.

Snorting opiates side effects

Taking opiates normally can cause a variety of side effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Severe side effects occur less frequently with normal use, but can occur more often when the medication is not taken as prescribed. These effects include:

  • abnormal heart rate
  • confusion
  • difficulty breathing
  • fainting/loss of consciousness
  • seizures

Snorting opiates dangers

Snorting opiates has some serious side effects. Snorting opiates puts you at increased risk of accidents due to your impaired abilities. Snorting opiates also definitely increases the risk you become addicted to the medication. Inhaling drug powder through the nose can harm your nasal passages over time, and even spread disease if you share snorting instruments. But the most serious risk of snorting drugs is that of potential overdose and death.

Snorting opiates safely

Opiates are not safe to take by snorting. Doses can be fatal in someone who doesn’t have a built-up opiates tolerance. But in some cases of severe hypersensitivity, even small doses can be deadly. Because it’s hard to say how a person will react to large doses of opiates all at once, it’s simply not safe to snort opiates.

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Snorting opiates questions

Do you still have questions about snorting opiates? If so, please let us know. We respond to all opiates questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: Toxnet: opiates 
PubChem: opiates 
Medline Plus: Opiates Oral 
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. Hi, thanks for providing these information and a platform to ask questions. My loved one is a codeine addict and I’ve been trying to get her to quit. I’ve been tracking her dosage and trying to limit them to gradually reduce the amount to eventually stopping. However I have found that she has been crushing the tablets into powders and when confronted she claims that she mixes the powder into drinks so that she can “time-release” them by taking lesser amount over longer periods of time apparently to order to stop withdrawal effects without getting the high. After reading this I suspect that she might be snorting them instead. My question is, does snorting it actually increase the dosage? eg. taking 60mg orally vs snorting, does the body takes in more of the substance than orally? I’m concern that although I am limiting the number of pills, but snorting them actually worsen the addiction with lesser pills? Is she getting the same high and maintain the addiction with lesser pills this way? Is there a way to tell if someone is snorting them? like any tell-tale signs I can observe visually or by behaviors or through side effects etc? Anyone with any advise I would sincerely appreciate! Please help!

  2. My daughter has been terminated from a job due to opioid misuse. As a family we were hoping this was a “ wake call “. My question is : Can a person s nose become inflamed on the outside around the nostrils when snorting opioids ? The inflammation is localized on the end of her nose externally??

    1. Hi Maria. Snorting can cause damages on the nostrils. I suggest that you daughter visit a doctor about her inflammation.

  3. My husband was in recovery for 17 years for crack and alcohol addition. In the last year his mental status changed and I thought it was the energy drinks but I found out he is snorting opiates because I found a roll up dollar bill on the bathroom counter with some blue residual. I confronted him about it and he denied it. What is so dangerous and hurtful is that he is still attending his AA and CA meeting and going through the motion of hiding his new drug addition. I don’t know what to do but I know I cannot go down this road again. Can you give me some advice?

  4. My best friend started snorting his opana 10mg ir because he said when he took them orally they wouldn’t give him much pain relief. Someone suggested he snort them. He did and found they worked much better . He now is not getting the relief he was getting. Has he messed up his nostrils and now they aren’t absorbing like when he first started? I told him to tell his dr that the dose he was on wasn’t strong enough for the pain he is having. His dr wouldn’t increase his dose. Is it possible his nose isn’t absorbing anymore?

    1. Hi Michelle. Maybe his tolerance has increased, and the drug dose doesn’t work any more. I suggest that your friend speaks with his doctor about drug dose adjustment.

  5. My husband has been snorting 2 Percocet 30mg & wants help but doesn’t know what he should do. What’s the first step?

    1. Hi Sarah. The first step is education. Learn everything about Percocet addiction and its treatment. I suggest that you download our free e-book ‘How To Quit Opioids Painkillers’ to learn more about the whole rehab process, here:
      Then, call 1-877-960-2408 to speak with a specialist to find a facility. The helpline is free, trustful, and available 24/7.

  6. Sarah, as you may already know, with any opiate analgesic treatment for pain,
    the patient will become tolerant to the dosage over time. This timeline varies from
    person to person, depending on their weight, metabolism, overall health, etc. There
    is another Pharma company that has developed an inhaler opiate delivery system. This company has been given FDA approval for use for persons with difficult to manage pain conditions, like yours. Common delivery systems, like by mouth, can upset the stomach in many people. I am sorry that I forgot their name, but a reputable pain management doctor would be very helpful in your situation. Best, if they are “board certified” to practice pain management in your state. Hope this helps…….Good luck, and God Bless.

  7. I suffer from a rare disease called Dercums. It’s a progressive disease that attacks your body with painful lipomas, eventually attacking the organs, the brain, causing confusion stronger pain and then death.
    I’m struggling with my Dr, I’ve been begging for stronger dosage (on 5mg since dx 6 yrs ago), but they won’t budge. I’m suffering everyday, can’t eat or sleep well at all.
    Would crushing the tablets provide more relief? I know some people with disease drink heavy and take the meds. I’d rather not go that route.

  8. Abel, I would not agree that snorting drugs is the “most deadliest way to do it”. I believe IV drug administration would be the most risky hence deadly!

  9. It is very dangerous and most offend concludes in death. If someone you know is doing this, please, call for intervention and get help It causes so much damage to the body, it’s so sad. Obviously, a user, does not care, progresses to this, but snorting drugs is the most deadliest way to do it. Oh goodness, this is so sad.

    1. Thank you for sharing your advise with other readers, Abel. I completely agree with your point that snorting drugs or medications is very risky.

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