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.

minute read
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!

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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I have read and agree to the conditions outlined in the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

  1. I have been taking all forms of benzos since I was 17 I am now in my 40s and believe that they have affected my memory so badly that I think I have some form of dementia. Both short term and long term memories are affected.. I have been switched over from Xanax to Ativan in the last year due to the aus govt cracking down on the abuse and find there is absolutely no difference in their strengths or side effects although I did have a seizure lately for the first time when I ran out and couldn’t get any for a while!!! Basically guys benzos are a cheap high but the costs are huge, black outs are common an my worst nightmare is waking up from a binge I a prison cell having done some serious damage to someone I love or anyone for that matter

  2. Please help! I took a sublingual dose of liquid Ativan on the night my mom passed away. I guessed at the shot but am positive it was no more than one mg. Now I am being told I was comatose thru her passing and that I said all kinds of crazy shit to the funeral home attendants who picked her up, to my grown kids, and to several friends on the phone. No one will tell me what I said “out of respect for me”. No one will tell me what happened. I have no memory of that morning or the next two days! I don’t understand. I take 1mg Ativan pills on occasion as needed so why did the liquid dose knock me out and take my memory?

    1. Hi Tracy. One of the most negative effects of Ativan is memory loss. Maybe, you took a higher dose that caused this effects. Please, use your medications only as prescribed by a doctor since you put yourself at risk.

  3. My doctor prescribed me Xanax 2mg, 3 times a day. I abruptly stopped taking it last night, and had a seizure. The ER doctor prescribed Ativan 1mg, 3 times a day. Is there also a seizure risk if I forget to take it?

    – Brian

  4. Eight years ago, while hospitalized following cardiac arrest, and before bypass, my husband had not slept in 2 0r 3 days and was exhausted and agitated. His doctor orders Ativan to help him rest. The next morning I was called to the hospital at 5 am as the nurses could not control him. They would not even enter his room as he was crouched in the corner of his bed, intravenous lines dangling, while cursing at them, threatening them, clawing at the air, and growling like an animal. His most base instincts had come to the forefront and all appearances of a civilized human were gone. We endured hours of this until he settled down. His doctor did not think the Ativan could have caused such reaction and elected to medicate him again with the same dose. His demeanor changed into that of an animal once again……a raging inhuman specimen. I understand some of the recent shooters have reportedly been on this drug. If our psychiatric profession thinks they are helping by prescribing such a drug, I will begin to push the effort to hold them partially responsible for the aftermath.

  5. I’ve been on Benzo’s and opiods for a good 10 yrs due to accidents, surgeries etc etc. I’m planning on starting to snort my Ativan which currently is only at 1 mg 3 x a day. The effects of the lorazepam have lessened and my doctor is on that “everything is habit forming kick”. But if my pain and anxiety is through the god damn roof you better believe I’ll do anything to beat it. So that being said snorting 3gms should be save? I know its not a smart idea, but its either that or I’ll never get out of bed

  6. i want to know if ativan get burn on a spoon and q tips are used for what
    and what kind affect does it have
    i really need a respond someone is living with me and i wouls like to find out what to expect and have some knowledge when i speak about it

  7. Cliff! From December 2015. I’m actually going through the exact same thing you are, word for word. What did you do? Did you go see a dr or a specialist? And did it help!

  8. i got put on .5mg of ativan just 2 weeks ago for intense anxiety, now iv been diagnosed with depression and or maybe PTSD (faceing one’s mortality can do that)
    iv always been had a high tolerance to drugs street and prescription. even wen tryn them for the first time, never had a problem with addiction but huge problem with do i ask a doctor councilor hell shrink, that im not tryna get high but i need sumthin strong to give me a sense of well being, i dont just wna get high i just literally cant deal with being sober…sounds fuckn insane but its honest

  9. My husband snorted ativan for the first time he fell right to sleep and is snoring very loud he doesn’t seem to hear me but is breathing what should I do?

  10. “get high get drunk do what u Wanna do, and if they Don’t like it then tell ’em FUCK YOU!” give her sum weed and say ‘if u quit pills i’ll. Buy u more weed’

  11. I know that my daughter has been taking large amounts of Soma and now I believe she is also snorting Ativan.
    I don’t know what to do.
    She needs help.
    What can I do?

  12. I have snorted Xanex for years. Use to mix with OC but now I cant crush the OP version. Just got switched to Ativan. Is snorting Ativan same as Xanex. Doctor told me medicine was the same. Is there a diference?

    1. Hi Stevie. Ativan and Xanax are both short-acting benzodiazepine medications, but generally they are not the same. They do treat the same conditions and produce similar side-effects. Also, both drugs have potential for abuse and dependence, and since you are already snorting it, you are at a higher risk of developing dependence and even addiction. Please be careful.

  13. Hi Joanne. Yes, there is a potential for interaction between the two drugs, since they both increase sedation and drowsiness. Mixing the two is contraindicated in many cases. Taking narcotics with other sedatives is a routine killer of people.

  14. snorting Ativan along with oxy-done is that very dangerous , both have a relaxing effect one for pain and one for anxiety

  15. Hi! I thought I would shed some light on this article and hopefully help those reading in the future! There are several facts in this article which are distorted. First of all I would like to state that snorting Ativan has no quicker onsetn nor increased intensity of effect versus oral consumption. Nasaly, the drug is much more inactive as aposed to swollowing it. There is no increased amount of lorazepam crossing the blood brain barrier at any point when snorted. While it is still not recommended to ever snort this or any drug, the idea that snorting lorazepam has any increased recreational value is ridiculous.

  16. In the real world people are going to do what they want. So, always start out with a half one because you can always do more but you can’t do less. And make sure you have someone around in case you do have any adverse reactions.

  17. I have been taking ativan for about 3 years now. I usually take 6 to 8 mg a day. I rarely drink alcohol, but when i do if i have any more than 2 drinks, i become extremely sick and dizzy like u would if u had just drank alcohol to the point of vomiting. The last time i thought i would be ok because it had been since the previous day, but it still made me sick so i just don’t drink to b on the safe side.

  18. Hey just wanted to comment on one or two comments others had already posted. To Garrett and Addiction Blog; ok, yes no amount of Ativan is safe to snort. But if you are going to do it I would start with no more than two at a time or atleast until u have became familiar with how your body reacts to the substance. Oh and Garrett you want to educate yourself of the Rx drugs your experimenting with: for instance a drug like Ativan and/or Xanax both have a high level of acidity. And I shudnt need to tell you the importance b/t acidic compounds and human blood vessels. From personal exp. snorting a Xanax is very painfull.

  19. Hi Tracy. Some people snort Ativan for quicker therapeutic effect. Others to feel calm and chill. Lorazepam is a central nervous system depressant.

  20. not a comment really. My question was , WHY do people snort Ativan or lorazapam? is it for a speed or as a downer? I heard of a bunch of people doing this and am wondering why?

  21. To the 16 yr old girl “Ash” watch yourself please,I have SEVERE aniexty and depression,it runs in my family and I think being molested at a very young age has made it worse,why am I saying this? Well firstly I get upset when I see/hear about people abusing medications I take because I NEED them! Secondly if you’re taking it like that you probably don’t have a prescription,which is ILLEGAL! Also my cousin DIED in March from an overdose of benzo’s and pain meds he wasn’t prescribed,his death has broken my aunt’s heart,I am very messed up over his death as well. Benzo’s especially should NEVER be taken with alcohol,unless you want to black out and might find you’ve been raped…..I am 34 yrs old and have been on Benzo’s since I was @ 17 yrs old-prescribed of course. My father is also a DOCTOR so trust me I know what I’m talking about! I’m so tired of people dying from overdoses,you have to have an RX and know what you’re doing etc or trust me you WILL DIE if you haven’t already…………

  22. this isn’t the first time i had snorted medication but i was wondering about the effects, either long or short term, from snorting .5mg of ativan

  23. My friend found out about something sooo terrible involving her 10year old daughter……. I use ativan as prescribed by my doctor for anxiety attacks, (also locked away in a safe which I do not have the code 2. When my friend was sooo upset and livid 2 say the least, she started struggling 2 breath, getting pins and needles shaking… All from being so angry and upset! So I gave her half a 1mg Ativan….. Later her husband gave her the other half… She ended up in hospital tonight from hallucinations and serious vomiting. I was totally unaware that these “side effects” can occur!! I never knew about all these side effects until tonight! Thankfully she was put on a drip and stabilized. With this said google has all the answers! I will definitely empower myself with more knowledge about any medication and its side effects in the future!

  24. Hi Garrett. To state the obvious (and an editorial slant for this blog), no amount of Ativan is really safe or meant for snorting.

  25. Hello Jason. I am so very sorry for the loss you’ve experienced with your brother and his Ativan use. It is very sad to watch someone we love continue to return to the substance which has hurt them so much. I appreciate your posting here, and will keep your family in my thoughts.

  26. My brother used ativan for anxiety and drank a lot for a few years. We all now believe that combination damaged his brain. There was a steady decline in him over a period of about 1.5 years, where the quality of his work declined, and he tended to repeat himself more often when speaking. Tragically, he went on a binge and gave himself a real brain injury. Today he is nearly homeless and has been hospitalized three times in the last two months due to taking ativan, which now wreaks havoc on his damaged brain. I would seriously advise anyone who is using ativan to stop…there is evidence that benzos alone cause brain damage, but alcohol hinders the brain’s ability to fend off ativan, so mixing them in my experience can have devastating, permanent consequences.

  27. Hey there 🙂
    So I Had taken 5 mgs of Ativan and about 1 or 2 grams of hash and .5 of marijuana this weekend and I was really messed up but it’s almost been 5 days since this had happened and I’m still feeling the negative hangover-like side effects, is this normal? Could I have overdosed? Some effects I had while I was messed up on Ativan was restlessness/hyperactivity, I was extremely happy, my vision was very blurry, had some trouble walking, I constantly felt like passing out and I noticed that when I closed my eyes I would hallucinate and I ended up throwing up a few times that night and many more the following day.
    I am 16 and female, weigh 105 pounds and have not yet built up a tolerance for ativan, how much would you recommend I could safely consume:
    Ativan mixed with alcohol (my regular alcohol consumption is up to 10 shots)
    Ativan mixed with alcohol and weed
    ativan mixed with weed
    And also that night my friends an I recognized that while we were all on Ativan&weed&hash (around same amount) that we were picking up vibes off each other and tripping out about the same things as if we were on mush, is this possible or was it just in our heads? Lol
    And if I was to snort 1 or 2 mg of Ativan an mix it with alcohol what would the side effects be? As well would I have any permanent damage from this if it’s not done often?

I am ready to call
i Who Answers?