Can You Snort Heroin?

In previous decades, heroin was almost always injected. This gave rise to a tremendous amount of stigma, particularly when the AIDS epidemic was at its peak. By the 1990s, however, people started to snort heroin instead of injecting it.

While snorting heroin removes some of the complications that can come with intravenous drug use, snorting heroin is actually more detrimental in some ways because it makes heroin seem safer or less stigmatized for some people. This destigmatization, in addition to the low cost of heroin and other factors, is largely responsible for its rise in popularity in the United States.

So, what happens when you snort heroin?

Snort Heroin | Can You Snort Heroin? | Effects and Overdose
Can you snort heroin? While heroin can be snorted, it can lead to many complications and addiction. Heroin is an opioid drug that’s highly potent and also very addictive. It’s synthesized from morphine. Once someone uses it, it converts back to morphine in the brain, where it then binds to opioid receptors.

Snorting heroin tends to, unfortunately, be seen as safer by some people since it doesn’t require the use of needles or any other tools. While it does eliminate the risk of infected needles and damage from the use of needles, it doesn’t remove any of the risks of the heroin itself.

In order to snort heroin, it needs to be in the pure powder form. If it’s not pure enough for someone to directly snort it, they might liquefy it and snort it using the barrel of a syringe. When heroin is snorted, it first goes through the nasal tissue and then into the bloodstream.

If you snort heroin, the effects are similar in many ways to using the drug in any other form, with a few minor distinctions.

When you snort heroin it first goes through the nasal tissues and then into the bloodstream. The high from snorting heroin may be less powerful than what occurs when it’s used intravenously. However, for the most part, the effects are similar to other methods of ingestion.

When you snort heroin, the effects take around 10 to 15 minutes to become fully felt. When it’s injected, the effects may set in within a matter of seconds. While there is some belief that when you snort heroin the effects may not be as powerful, people have come to prefer it in many ways because they see it as easier than injecting the medication.

When you snort heroin, the effects, are generally the same as using it any other way and can include the euphoric rush as well as itchiness, cloudy mental function, vomiting, pinpoint pupils and periods of nodding off or falling asleep. Often people will binge on heroin, which can cause problems with sleeping and eating, and they may become malnourished or experience dehydration as a result.

Some of the other possible long-term health problems that come with the use of heroin can include respiratory issues, infections, constipation, sexual dysfunction, irregular menstrual cycles, intestinal damage, and mental health conditions.

Sometimes it can be more difficult to tell if someone is using heroin if they snort it since one of the tell-tale signs of intravenous heroin use is track marks. Some of the signs of snorting heroin may include a runny nose and sniffling that can seem similar to having an allergic reaction.

When you snort heroin, is overdose possible?

The answer is yes, but there tends to be a myth that when you snort heroin makes overdose less likely to occur. While the fact that snorting heroin delays a person’s reaction to its effects does mean it can be slightly less addictive, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to addiction or overdose.

Even when you snort heroin, you can build a tolerance quickly. Then, if you stop using the drug and start again without taking into account the difference in your tolerance, you could overdose.

For some people, snorting heroin is a stepping stone to other methods of ingestion. Snorting heroin may seem less dangerous or intimidating, but it could lead to injecting it or using more of the drug.

If you or someone you know is snorting heroin, help is available. Contact The Recovery Village to learn more about treatment for heroin addiction.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “What Is Heroin?” June 2018. Accessed January 20, 2019.

Gray, Eliza. “Heroin’s Resurgence.” Time. February 17, 2014. Accessed January 20, 2019.

Can You Snort Heroin?
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