Can You Snort Heroin?
Heroin is a powerful opioid, and its use leads to staggering consequences. People can become addicted after using it only once. Along with a psychological addiction, a physical dependence on heroin also develops quickly. Drug dependence means that if you stop using a substance suddenly, you’ll go through withdrawal.
Unfortunately, the highly addictive nature of heroin and other opioids has given rise to “the opioid epidemic.” This drug epidemic refers to the use of heroin, as well as prescription pain medicines, which has spiraled out of control in the United States. Because of the prevalence of opioid use in this country, people have a lot of questions about heroin. For example, they wonder how heroin works, why it’s so addictive and how it’s used. Heroin is used in three main ways. It’s injected, smoked and snorted (also called “sniffing heroin”).
Heroin is incredibly addictive because of the way it affects the brain. The dopamine that’s released activates reward pathways in the brain, which contributes to a cycle of addiction. With heroin addiction, the desire to continue using is out of control and compulsive. A person using heroin also quickly develops a tolerance, meaning they need larger doses to experience any effect. That tolerance contributes to physical dependence. If you’re dependent on heroin, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the drug suddenly.
When someone sniffs heroin, the drug is absorbed by the blood vessels found throughout the nose. Once it is absorbed into those vessels, it travels through the bloodstream and then the brain. Sniffing heroin will result in a euphoric high in about five minutes for most people. While this may seem like a short onset time, the effects of heroin are felt much more quickly when it’s injected. The rapid onset time is one of the reasons that many heroin addicts often move on to intravenous drug use, even if they start by sniffing heroin.
The overdose risk is slightly lower when heroin is snorted, but it is still very high. In some instances, the risk of an overdose can be higher among people who snort heroin. Someone who snorts heroin is more likely to only use the drug occasionally, meaning they have a lower tolerance or their tolerance goes down between uses. The lower the opioid tolerance, the higher the chance of an overdose.
Most heroin available in the U.S. is also full of impurities. These impurities can cause inflammation and damage to the tissues in the nasal cavity, which can lead to a hole in the septum as well. Snorting heroin can be particularly damaging to people with preexisting conditions such as asthma, and snorting heroin can lead to fatal asthma attacks.
So, can you snort heroin? You can, and it’s one of the main ways the drug is abused, but it’s risky and often deadly. If you have a problem snorting heroin, or if someone you love does, we can help you at The Recovery Village. We specialize in customized treatment plans that will allow you to move toward a heroin- and drug-free life. Reach out today for more information.
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