Addicts have found multiple ways of using drugs. Drugs can be taken orally, smoked, injected, and sniffed or snorted. Some of these ways are taken to achieve a more intense high in a shorter amount of time. Every different way you take a drug has it’s own effects and affects the addict short and long term. A lot of addicts think by snorting a drug they are safer because they aren’t injecting it intravenously. Another misconception is if an addict is snorting a prescribed drug rather than a street drug they are also safer. Both of these misconceptions are far from the truth. Snorting prescribed drugs is just as dangerous as shooting up street drugs.
Some drugs that are commonly snorted include:
- Opioid painkillers, such as Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin.
- Prescription stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), non-medical use of prescription pain medication is a rampant problem affecting nearly 2.5 million people in the United States. This is even more distressing when you consider the suffering and adverse health effects that result from such abuse. One report indicated that approximately one million visits to emergency departments could be attributed directly to prescription drug abuse.
The various harmful effects upon the body that result from drug abuse can be further aggravated by the method used to ingest the substance. Many people who abuse drugs prefer to take prescription pain pills by crushing them into powder and then inhaling them through the nose.
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What Is Sniffing and Snorting?
Snorting or sniffing is when an addict inhales a drug, which is in powder form or a crushed up pill, through the nose. This way of administration is also referred to as nasal insufflation or intranasal.
Because it is misunderstood that snorting prescribed drugs, such as pills, are safer than shooting street drugs, there is and has been a rise of addiction and overdoses due to snorting prescription pills.
Prescription pills are made to be taken in a particular way, often ingested orally, and to be released slowly. When taken the right way, the medication is broken down in the stomach before it is absorbed into the bloodstream over time. By snorting, the full effect of the drug is released almost immediately by going straight into the bloodstream via blood vessels in the nasal cavity, which can have serious consequences.
The Health Dangers of Sniffing and Snorting Drugs
Your nose simply wasn’t meant to inhale powders. Sniffing or snorting drugs has multiple health consequences. You can damage your respiratory system, making it difficult for you to breathe normally. The mucous membranes in your nose are extremely delicate and can be easily damaged. When these get damaged, they stop functioning normally, making your normal respiratory actions not work properly.
Other side effects of snorting drugs include:
- Increased heart
- Loss of smell
- Frequent runny nose
- Problems with swallowing
Long-term effects are the most severe and often cause permanent damage to the nose. Long-term snorting of drugs sets up a cascade of infections and damage leading to perforation in the septum part of the nose. A nasal septum perforation is a medical condition in which the nasal septum, the bony/cartilage wall dividing the nasal cavities, develops a hole.
How do Snorting Drugs cause Aneurysms?
Snorting drugs increases blood pressure by tightening blood vessels (vasoconstriction). High blood pressure causes small tears on the inside of blood vessels. If these tears do not repair properly, the vessel walls become thin and have a hard time maintaining pressure. A weakening vessel may then bulge or balloon.
Symptoms of a Brain Aneurysm
Symptoms of an unruptured brain aneurysm are similar to a stroke:
- Double vision or changed vision
- Numbness of one side of the face
- One pupil dilated when the other is not
- Pain behind the eyes
If the following symptoms are experienced, call 911 immediately
Signs and Symptoms of Snorting Drugs
The belief that snorting drugs cannot lead to addiction is also far from true.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), the path to drug addiction begins with the voluntary act of taking drugs. But over time, a person’s ability to choose not to do so becomes compromised. Seeking and taking the drug becomes compulsive. This is mostly due to the effects of long-term drug exposure on brain function. Addiction affects parts of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and control over behavior.
If you or a loved one have been sorting or sniffing pills and noticed the signs of addiction such as:
- Obsessive thoughts
- Disregard of harm
- Loss of control
- Mood change
- Loss of interest
- Hiding drug use
Professional Addiction Treatment
We at Garden State Treatment Center can help you get in the right direction to recovery. Located in the heart of Northern New Jersey, Garden State Treatment Center is an outpatient and partial care addiction treatment facility that offers nuanced levels of care for individuals struggling with the horrors of substance abuse. It is our explicit goal to help addicted clients rebuild their lives from the inside out and reintegrate themselves back into society. The most important thing you can expect from your Garden State Treatment Center Treatment experience is that you will emerge from it transformed, stable, and ready to begin a lifetime of recovery.
What does snorting pills do?
Snorting pills, or insufflating, is a dangerous and illegal method of drug misuse. When a person crushes and snorts a pill, they’re attempting to get the drug into their system faster than if they were to take it orally. This can intensify the drug’s effects, but it also significantly increases the risk of harmful side effects and overdose.
When a pill is snorted, the drug is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the blood vessels in the nasal cavity. This results in a rapid onset of effects compared to swallowing the pill, which involves a slower process of digestion and absorption.
However, there are several serious risks associated with snorting pills:
- Overdose: Because snorting allows a drug to enter the bloodstream quickly, there is a higher risk of overdose. Overdose can result in serious health problems and potentially death.
- Damage to the Nose and Throat: Snorting pills can damage the delicate tissues in the nose and throat, leading to nosebleeds, a lost sense of smell, trouble swallowing, and other problems.
- Infection and Disease: Snorting drugs can lead to infections in the nasal cavity and respiratory tract, as well as increase the risk of diseases like hepatitis C or HIV if people share snorting equipment.
- Addiction: Snorting pills increases their addictive potential because the effects are felt more quickly and intensely. This can lead to a cycle of addiction where a person needs to continue using the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Adulterants and Fillers: Many pills contain fillers and other substances that are not intended to be snorted and can cause additional harm when insufflated.
In short, snorting pills is a dangerous activity with significant risks. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance misuse, it’s important to seek professional help.
What are the signs someone is snorting drugs?
Signs that someone may be snorting drugs can vary based on the specific substance being used, but there are a number of common physical and behavioral indicators:
- Frequent Nosebleeds: The act of snorting drugs can damage the nasal passages and lead to frequent nosebleeds.
- Runny or Stuffy Nose: Regularly snorting drugs can lead to chronic nasal problems, such as a persistently runny or stuffy nose.
- Changes in Nasal Appearance: Over time, snorting drugs can cause physical changes to the nose, such as a deviated septum or even a collapse of the nasal bridge.
- Loss of Sense of Smell: Chronic snorting can lead to a loss or decrease in sense of smell.
- Hoarseness or Chronic Throat Problems: Drugs that are snorted can also irritate the throat, leading to persistent throat problems or a hoarse voice.
- Residue around the Nose: You may notice a powdery residue around the person’s nostrils.
- Drug Paraphernalia: Finding items such as crushed pill residue, razor blades, small mirrors, or rolled up dollar bills or straws could be a sign someone is snorting drugs.
- Frequent Visits to the Bathroom or Other Private Places: People who snort drugs often need a private place to use, so they may disappear to the bathroom or another secluded spot frequently.
- Changes in Behavior or Mood: You might notice sudden changes in behavior, such as increased energy or euphoria immediately after disappearing (likely after using the drug) and then fatigue or depression later (as the drug effects wear off).
- Changes in Sleep Patterns: Many drugs can disrupt sleep, leading to insomnia or changes in sleep schedule.
- Neglecting Responsibilities: If the person starts neglecting school, work, or other responsibilities, it could be a sign of drug use.
- Financial Problems: Drugs can be expensive, and someone who is using drugs might start having unexplained financial problems.
If you suspect someone is snorting drugs, it’s important to approach the situation with care and concern. It may be helpful to seek advice from a healthcare provider or a counselor experienced in substance use issues. You may also consider reaching out to local or national resources and helplines that can provide guidance and support.
What are the effects of snorting pills on the nose?
Snorting pills, or insufflation of crushed tablets, is a form of drug misuse and is dangerous. It can have numerous harmful effects on the nose and overall health. Some of the effects on the nose and respiratory system include:
- Irritation of the Nasal Passages: The act of snorting pills can cause irritation to the sensitive lining of the nose and nasal passages. This can result in a runny nose, nosebleeds, and general discomfort.
- Damage to the Nasal Septum: The nasal septum (the cartilage and bone that separates the nostrils) can become damaged from snorting pills. This can lead to a perforated septum, and in severe cases, collapse of the nasal structure.
- Sinus Infections: Snorting pills can lead to chronic sinus infections due to irritation and inflammation in the sinus cavities.
- Respiratory Issues: Particles from crushed pills can be inhaled into the lungs, which can lead to respiratory problems such as difficulty breathing, chronic cough, and an increased risk of infections.
- Allergic Reactions: Some people may have an allergic reaction to the components or fillers in the pills, which can cause nasal congestion, sneezing, and swelling in the nasal passages.
- Reduced Sense of Smell: Chronic snorting of pills can damage the olfactory system, leading to a decreased or lost sense of smell.
Additionally, snorting pills can have systemic effects beyond the nose:
- Increased Risk of Overdose: When a drug is snorted, it enters the bloodstream more rapidly compared to oral ingestion. This can lead to higher concentrations of the drug in the blood and an increased risk of overdose.
- Changes in Blood Pressure and Heart Rate: Some drugs, especially stimulants, can cause significant increases in blood pressure and heart rate, which can be dangerous.
- Addiction and Dependence: Snorting pills can increase the risk of developing a substance use disorder, as this method of use is often associated with seeking a more intense or rapid effect.
Snorting pills is an extremely risky behavior that can have severe health consequences. It is important to use medications as prescribed and under the supervision of a healthcare professional. If you or someone you know is engaging in this behavior, it is crucial to seek help and support, which can include speaking with a healthcare provider or contacting a substance abuse helpline.
What are the effects of snorting pills on the lungs?
Snorting pills can have adverse effects on the lungs and respiratory system. When pills are crushed into a powder and snorted, the drug enters the nasal passages and can irritate the delicate tissues in the nasal cavity and the respiratory system. Here are some potential effects of snorting pills on the lungs:
- Irritation and Inflammation: Snorting pills can cause irritation and inflammation of the nasal passages, sinuses, and airways. The abrasive nature of the powdered substance can damage the delicate tissues, leading to redness, swelling, and discomfort.
- Nasal Congestion and Sinus Problems: Snorting pills can contribute to nasal congestion and sinus problems. The drug particles can clog the nasal passages and sinuses, hindering proper airflow and causing congestion, sinus pain, and sinus infections.
- Damage to Lung Tissue: In some cases, the drug particles can be inhaled into the lower respiratory tract, potentially causing damage to lung tissue. This can lead to inflammation, coughing, shortness of breath, and respiratory infections.
- Risk of Lung Infections: Snorting drugs can introduce bacteria or other pathogens into the respiratory system, increasing the risk of developing lung infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
- Long-Term Respiratory Problems: Chronic snorting of pills can lead to long-term respiratory issues, including chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, or even permanent damage to the nasal passages or lung tissue.
It’s important to note that the specific risks and severity of these effects can vary depending on the drug being snorted, the amount used, the frequency of use, and an individual’s overall health. Snorting any substance carries inherent risks and can lead to a range of respiratory complications.
If you or someone you know is snorting pills or experiencing respiratory problems related to drug use, it is crucial to seek medical assistance from healthcare professionals. They can provide appropriate evaluation, treatment, and support to address any respiratory issues and help with substance abuse concerns.
Can snorting drugs cause a brain aneurysm?
Snorting drugs can potentially increase the risk of a brain aneurysm, although it is important to note that this risk is generally associated with specific drugs and their effects on the body, rather than the act of snorting itself. Snorting drugs involves inhaling powdered substances through the nose, which can lead to various health complications.
The use of certain drugs, such as stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. These drugs can increase blood pressure and heart rate, which can put strain on blood vessels, including those in the brain. Chronic high blood pressure and the stress placed on blood vessels can contribute to the development or rupture of an aneurysm, which is a weakened and bulging section of a blood vessel.
Furthermore, the act of snorting drugs can cause irritation and damage to the nasal passages and sinus tissues. Repeated snorting can lead to inflammation, infection, and potentially affect the blood vessels supplying the nasal region and adjacent structures, including the brain.
It is important to remember that using any illicit drugs or misusing prescription medications can have serious health consequences, including an increased risk of cardiovascular problems and other medical conditions. If you have concerns about drug use or its potential effects on your health, it is crucial to seek professional medical advice from a healthcare provider. They can provide guidance, support, and appropriate treatment options.