Tuesday September 2nd 2014

Snorting Vicodin

Can I get high on Vicodin?  Yes.  But at what cost?   If you’re thinking about snorting Vicodin, you should know what to expect – in the short AND long term.

Here, we review what happens in the body if you snort Vicodin, as well as the dangers and safety concerns of snorting Vicodin.  Does Vicodin show drug test?  Yes, with a detection window that varies from days to weeks to months, depending on the type of drug screen.  We welcome questions about snorting Vicodin at the end of this article, and will try to answer all legitimate questions with a personal reply ASAP.

Vicodin: What are you really snorting?

Vicodin is used to treat moderate to severe pain. The active ingredients in Vicodin are hydrocodone, a narcotic painkiller, and acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Vicodin also contains a variety of inactive ingredients, including colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, crospovidone, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, pregelatinized cornstarch, and stearic acid.

How does snorting Vicodin affect the body?

When used orally or when snorted, Vicodin affects the central nervous system of the body. Vicodin acts on the brain by binding to opioid receptors to affect the body’s perception of pain. But the way that Vicodin acts on the brain can also cause feelings of euphoria. Snorting Vicodin speeds up these effects, and brings on a more intense high, as well as increasing risk of overdose. Normal side effects of Vicodin include dizziness, lightheadedness, and even vomiting which may also be triggered if you snort Vicodin.

Snorting Vicodin to get high

When Vicodin is snorted, it’s absorbed into the blood stream through the tissues of the nose. But there are dangers to snorting Vicodin. When taken by inhaling Vicodin into the nasal passage, Vicodin can end up being taken in higher amounts than would normally enter the blood. This can result in an overdose, which can cause slowed breathing, loss of consciousness, severe liver damage, and even death. Snorting also raises the risk of severe adverse effects to the pain medication.

Snorting Vicodin vs oral

Taking Vicodin orally is definitely safer than snorting. Snorting Vicodin results in a much quicker onset of effects, causing almost immediate pain relief and euphoria. But when you snort Vicodin, you are also at a much greater risk of toxic effects from the drug. Oral ingestion of Vicodin may bring on a slower onset of action (Vicodin is still a short acting opioid), but pain relief effectiveness and duration with oral dosing of Vicodin are at least equal to, if not greater than, when taking orally vs. snorting Vicodin.  Finally, Vicodin stays in system about the same time (half life for Vicodin is 4 hours), whether you snort it or swallow it.

Snorting Vicodin side effects

Taking Vicodin orally often causes dizziness and drowsiness. Severe side effects are more likely when the medication is not taken as prescribed, either in higher doses or using unintended methods. These effects include:

  • anxiety
  • abnormal moods
  • chest tightness
  • confusion, “fuzzy” thinking
  • constipation
  • difficulty urinating
  • itching and rash
  • slowed/irregular breathing
  • vomiting

Snorting Vicodin dangers

Snorting Vicodin can cause very serious side effects. Insufflating Vicodin puts you at risk of accidents – your ability to think clearly and react quickly will be impaired to a much greater extent than taking the medication orally. Snorting Vicodin can also harm your nasal passages, and spread disease (especially if you share utensils for snorting). Furthermore, snorting Vicodin can result in an addiction to the medication, since you’ll be receiving higher doses than are strictly therapeutic. Finally, death is a serious risk that you take if you don’t take Vicodin as prescribed.

Snorting Vicodin safely

Vicodin probably can’t be snorted safely, but that’s not because of the narcotic hydrocodone. It’s actually harder to overdose on hydrocodone than it is with the other active ingredient of the drug – acetaminophen. Taking more than 4000 mg of acetaminophen a day can cause liver damage, and 7000 mg or more can lead to a severe overdose. An acetaminophen overdose can cause coma, irreversible organ damage, and death. This risk is the main reason not to take Vicodin in any manner other than directed by your prescribing doctor.

Snorting Vicodin questions

Do you still have questions about snorting Vicodin? If so, please let us know. We try to respond to all Vicodin questions with a personal and prompt reply. And will answer questions about Vicodin use with honesty and without judgment.

Reference Sources: PubMed Health: Hydrocodone
Drug Enforcement Administration: Hydrocodone
Medline Plus: Acetaminophen overdose 

Photo credit: National Library of Medicine Medical Images Archive

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24 Responses to “Snorting Vicodin
Michael Bunte
12:54 pm April 26th, 2012

I’ve been taking, on average, (5) 10/325 per day of Vicodin for3 years now. I have gone without for periods of 3 days to 5 weeks–but not very often. I have been diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, and I have 2 missing discs in my lower back, causing painful episodes of vertebral dislocation. I also have been taking Soma 325 mg 3-4 tabs day for about 4 months. I also use kratom, Tylenol, and aspirin (325 mg, 1-2 tabs/day). My wife is constantly nagging me about giving up the kratom and Vicodin. She thinks I’m abusing. I disagree. I think I’m maintaining (barely). I would really like to quit ALL of the pain medications, but it’s a bitch. I limit my total Tylenol to 2-4000 mg/day.
My tolerance is such that I feel no relief whatsoever from 2 Vicodin at 1 dose. My question is whether I’m taking too much Vicodin for long-term use. Recent liver function test says my liver is fine. I personally feel it would be better for me to switch to oxycodone, but my Dr. will have none of that. Tramadol worked the 1st 3 days, but then I found it way too stimulating–very uncomfortable.
Thank you for your advice.

5:52 pm April 27th, 2012

Hi Michael. Thanks for your question.

Getting into a comfortable pain relief zone using opioids without causing long term effects is a delicate balance and one that an MD would be best to consult with. You can always check out another doctor for a second opinion if your current doctor is not willing to provide alternatives. But as long as you are taking the medication as prescribed and it is helping you, addiction should not be an issue. Physical dependence will be a problem when you wean or discontinue use. Are you experiencing symptoms that your wife is particularly concerned about?

Michael Bunte
11:17 pm April 29th, 2012

Thanks for your reply. You asked me about my wife’s concerns. Generally, she is not concerned, but sometimes (occasionally) wonders if my pain issues are related to withdrawal. They’re not. I know what withdrawal feels like. I have occasionally been pretty pain free and have quit abruptly or titrated too quickly. I have only experienced mild abdominal cramps and some insomnia the 2nd and 3rd days.

In my opinion she’s overly concerned. For instance, if I zone out and have a deep thought, she’s concerned that I might be too stoned on Vicodin. It’s kinda annoying.

Anyway, your reply is reassuring to me. Thank you. I asked about getting into a pain clinic recently, and was told by my insurance group that they, at this point, don’t have one (?!), but will in a couple months.

12:46 am April 30th, 2012

Hi again, Michael. Deep thoughts can be intuitive, too! I wish you the best as you seek alternatives. And let us know if we can be of help.

Diane L.
8:13 pm August 23rd, 2012

ive been snorting vicoden for over a year now and over the past few months have had to take antibiotics for strep throat and ear infections and again for sinusitis. this last set ive been one for five days and are a lot stronger than the first ones but i still have pain in my sinuses and a yellowish whitish strak going down the back of my throat. unfortunately it seems the only way to get rid of the burning in my sinuses and the pain in the throat is to crush up another one! could it be the vicodin causing me these problems and in fact not an infection? ive tried to find info for awhile but havent had much luck……any suggestions would be helpful :(

6:48 pm August 24th, 2012

Hi Diane. Thanks for your question. It is possible that either the snorted Vicodin, an ear, nose or throat infection, or both are causing you the pain in the back of the throat. They definitely seem (to a non-professional bystander) to be related. But you’re also in a circle of self-medicating the pain by taking more Vicodin, which can create more pain.

I’d suggest that you talk openly with your doctor about how you’re using Vicodin. Also, do you want to stop taking Vicodin?

Diane L.
1:21 pm September 30th, 2012

at this point in time i have decided that once i get the sinus and throat problems taken care of i will stop but for now the only way to manage it all is to do another. ive been gargling salt water to try to get rid of the throat problem and using oil and cotton in my ears to help sooth them even temporarily. i dont have a doctor seeings how i dont ahve any access to any insurance of any kind so i have been trying to take care of it on my own. if i go to the er again they will just give me another antibiotic that wont do any good. for about 4 months now the pain in my throat and sinuses gets so intense that it wakes me up about every hour to hour and a half throughout the night. i just want to sleep again! ive even tried taking 4 sleeping pills ( made sure to get something without any pain relievers of any kind) and i still wake up every hour or so. when i went to the er the last two times i never mentioned how i was doing them…was afraid id be in trouble somehow since i dont have a script and get them off teh street. i would definately have to tell someone considering doing them this way not to even start. im at the point now i dont even get high off of them…just temporary relief from the burning and pain in my sinuses and throat. i personally at this time am not to worried about the addiction part or the tylonol in them since my nose stuffs up so fast and in the end i blow most of it back out. if i was i doubt i am anymore which would make it easier to lay them down…just cant find anything over the counter to ease my symptoms :( any suggestions would be very helpful :)

melynda
6:13 pm January 18th, 2013

can a drug test tell how many vicodin you are taking.. like… can it tell if you taking only one a day or 3 a day or 4 a day..

2:21 pm January 24th, 2013

Hi Melynda. An opioid-specific test called an Extended Opioid test can tell to the nanogram how much hydrocodone metabolite is in your system. So if you are taking more than prescribed, these tests can detect it.

Jamie
5:06 pm January 28th, 2013

My crush let me know that hes on vicodin for his back pain but also told me he snorts them, now what i guess im wondering is if hes additcted to them, he only does the dose prescribed. Like his script says to take 2 daily. He snorts half at a time through the day but only will take 2 pills daily just like hes suspose to. Is that very bad?

2:29 pm January 29th, 2013

Hi Jamie. Snorting is a quick way to get Vicodin into the system. If this young man is snorting Vicodin, it may be a way to feel high, which is definitely a sign of trouble. Getting high on Vicodin can become habit forming, and lead to addiction. If he’s taking AS MUCH as prescribed, as him if he’d consider taking Vicodin AS prescribed…orally. And if he isn’t interested, ask him what snorting does for him. Also, ask him when he’s going to stop…

kim
5:25 am January 31st, 2013

how long does vicodin stay in system that will show on a normal drug test?

9:29 am February 1st, 2013

Hi Kim. Vicodin is not detected in standard DOT 5 panel drug screens. There is a special screen called “Extended Opiates/Opioids” which is required to pick up hydrocodone and its metabolites in drug testing. Vicodin usually clears the system in a couple of days, but can theoretically be detected up to 4 days after use.

krissy
6:49 pm February 21st, 2013

I simply wanr t to thank you for this website. I just found you today. I have struggled with addiction my entire life. It was just an amazing feeling when I read ”we will answer your questions without judgement” For now, Im just reading. Trying to get thru the day. Thanks agin……Krissy

2:51 pm February 25th, 2013

Hi Krissy. You’re welcome! Let us know when we can help.

Mike Oxhard
3:36 am March 31st, 2013

I’ve been snorting about 1/4 to 1/2 a 300mg pill everyday for the past few weeks. What kind of effect would this have if I continued at this rate?

becca
6:32 pm May 2nd, 2013

i am severely addicted to snorting hydros i have almost no cartilage between my nostrils just a hole i want to stop badly but when i try to stop the pain is unbearable i cant swallow it feels as if someone is stabbing my ear my whole face hurts. i am 22 yrs old and hate what i have done to myself i so desperately want to stop and take my life back. But they only way for me to get rid of the pain is to snort another one. i really need some advice. is there anything i culd use to get rid of the pain ???

8:04 am May 7th, 2013

Hi Becca. Treatment and help is available. You’ll need to be willing to consult with a doctor and an ENT specialist and to stop taking hydrocodone in the long run. If you’re ready for these steps, seek medical help and talk openly about the hydrocodone abuse. The physical pain often masks emotional or psychological pain that is under the surface. You are not alone!

Karen L.
10:00 pm October 4th, 2013

I had a very bad experience in the end after snorting Vicodin for about 6 years. I was up to probably 30+ pills a day; just to stay “normal” and to avoid withdrawal. I ended up with clogged sinuses, plugged up ears and horrible pain all over my head and in my nose. I entered detox and had to have surgery by an Ear, Nose, Throat, Neck surgeon to clean out everything. The cost for surgery: $45,000. The cost of detox: $1,200 a day. This is the short version of the hell I went through. I don’t recommend starting to snort (or taking it orally for that matter). However, if you’re thinking about snorting it – beware – long term side effects will eventually hit you.

Lynn
3:34 am October 24th, 2013

I am very concerned as a parent. My sons snorts Vicodin. He also takes depocote for his seizures. He done not snort pills everyday but it still concerns me greatly.

Lynn
3:55 am October 24th, 2013

He also smokes hash and pot. Very frustrating . He is 21 and smart. How sad !

8:00 pm October 25th, 2013

Hi Lynn. I’d suggest that you start seeing a family counselor/psychotherapist to process all of the loss and disappointment that you feel…. and possible family dysfunction that can fuel addiction. It definitely sounds like your son is headed down a rough path.

Karen L.
8:21 pm October 25th, 2013

RE: Lynn
I suggest first getting him into detox. Then, get him into some kind of treatment; whether outpatient or inpatient (sober living or meetings). He may not snort a lot now, but tolerance builds up, and it will increase with time. It’s a very hard thing to stop. Snorting is way different than taking pills orally. Harder to treat and harder to stop. I wish you (and him) all the best.

jean
8:49 pm November 26th, 2013

I have had two false negatives for vicodin from my urinalysis causing me to lose my pain doctor and hence my vicodin! I do everything I’m supposed to do except sometimes I snort it. I’m taking all of my rx but get a negative for vicodin! Is it because I snort sometimes? They say I’m not taking it properly and were very rude to me. I’m a good person who has pain….not a drug addict and not selling them!!

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