Snorting Ativan

Is snorting Ativan more effective than taking Ativan orally? Does snorting Ativan get you high? Any dangers of snorting Ativan? More on snorting Ativan effects here.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

ARTICLE SUMMARY:  Users snort Ativan because it reaches the brain quickly. While snorting might cause quicker and more intense effects, the outcome of this decision carries a high risk. Irritation and an overall feeling of sickness are common negative effects as the drug enters the nasal cavity, throat, or lungs. Snorting a strong benzodiazepine like Ativan may even lead to overdose and death.


Euphoric Effect

Q: Can you get high if you snort Ativan?

A: Yes, but the consequences can be life threatening.

When snorted, large doses of lorazepam enter the bloodstream very quickly. This can expose you to much higher doses of benzodiazepine medication than you would absorb through the recommended oral route. Snorting immediately raises the risk of adverse side effects – and some of these, like difficulty breathing or irregular heartbeat, can be life-threatening. More overdose signs in this DEA Fact Sheet on Benzodiazepines.

Risks to the Body

Ativan is a benzodiazepine that contains lorazepam. It is commonly prescribed for insomnia and other sleep problems. But Ativan is also used for anxiety, either generalized or for panic attacks. Ativan works by acting on the brain, spine, and nerves of the body. Technically, lorazepam facilitates the inhibitory effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) at the GABA-A receptor complex in the body, primarily by binding non-selectively to the benzodiazepine subtype 1 (BZ1) and BZ2 receptors. In less technical terms, it slows brain activity and relaxes the user.

Effectively, Ativan is a tranquilizer.

During normal use, it can have some mild side effects. However, these are made more intense when snorted. Crushing and snorting an Ativan tablet can affect the body by causing:

  • blurred vision
  • changes in appetite
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • restlessness/excitement

Side Effects

Normal Ativan side effects can be bothersome, but usually aren’t dangerous. Severe side effects are fairly rare when taken orally, and occur more often when the medication is not taken as prescribed. So, snorting Ativan or using Ativan to get high can increase the likelihood of these extremely negative effects, including:

  • confusion
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • extreme drowsiness
  • fainting or coma
  • fever
  • irregular heartbeat
  • muscle weakness
  • tremors, inability to sit still
  • severe skin rash
  • yellowing of eyes or skin


Snorting Ativan can cause very serious side effects but might also harm you in ways that you do not expect. Snorting Ativan can first make you confused or drowsy, putting you at risk for car accidents – or industrial accidents, if you work with heavy machinery. When you snort Ativan you can also harm your nasal passages, and spread disease if you share snorting instrument. Plus, Ativan is habit-forming, and snorting it definitely increases your risk of becoming addicted.

Finally, when you snort Ativan you risk causing extremely low blood pressure, decreased heart rate, and coma. These possible effects are very serious and should be considered if you’re thinking about snorting Ativan. According to a 2015 article printed in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, benzodiazepines accounted for nearly 30 percent of deaths from pharmaceutical agents, 75 percent of which were unintentional. So, the risk of overdose on benzodiazepines like Ativan is real!


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Snorting vs Oral:

A 2001 study printed in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology says that once snorted, Ativan reaches peak blood concentrations at a faster rate than when taken intramuscular infection! Furthermore, when lorazepam is consumed orally, it is processed through the digestive tract, which is a relatively slow process accompanied by many stages of breaking down the drug for absorption.

Doctors discourage snorting Ativan. Oral Ativan preparations are safer and have fewer complications. Although snorting Ativan will cause quicker, more intense effects, this quick fix has its risks, especially of toxic effects and/or overdose. And an Ativan overdose can cause a coma or death.

Ativan: What are You Really Snorting?

The bottom line is this: Ativan is an anti-anxiety medication. In addition to reducing anxiety and inducing sleep, it can cause euphoria and, therefore, are subject to abuse as recreational drugs. But what else are you taking into your body when you snort this benzo?

Inactive ingredients of Ativan might also include lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, and polacrilin potassium.  How long lorazepam stays in your system depends on how long you’ve been taking Ativan.  In general, longer acting benzodiazepines like Ativan can stay in the system for weeks several days to a week after use and be detected in blood and urine samples during this time.

Safety Use Guidelines

Medline Plus patient information about lorazepam warns that lorazepam may increase the risk of serious or life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, or coma if used along with certain medications.  Therefore, you should consult your doctor if you are taking or plan to take certain opiate medications for cough. Further, never mix Ativan with alcohol. Drinking alcohol or using street drugs while taking Ativan increases the risk that you will experience these serious, life-threatening side effects.

Ativan comes in 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg tablets, which are usually taken in divided doses throughout the day. Recommended Ativan dosage can be anywhere from 1-10 mg/day – the higher ranges are only prescribed for people who have been taking Ativan in the long term and have developed a tolerance to the medication. If you’ve never taken Ativan before, 10 mgs can be dangerous. Again, 10 mg daily Ativan is the maximum per day dosage recommended by doctors – This much Ativan should never be taken all at once.

Leave Your Question Here

Do you still have questions about snorting Ativan or taking Ativan using other methods? If so, please let us know and leave your questions or comments below. We respond to all Ativan questions with a personal and prompt reply. And if we don’t know the answer to your question, we will refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: Daily Med: Ativan (lorazepam) tablet
PubMed Health: Lorazepam
DEA: Drugs of Abuse
NCBI: Prescription Sedative Misuse and Abuse
Medline Plus: Lorazepam
NCBI: Bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of lorazepam after intranasal, intravenous, and intramuscular administration
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.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Texas Healt...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.

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