Snorting hydrocodone

What’s more effective – snorting hydrocodone or taking hydrocodone orally? Does snorting hydrocodone get you high? What are the dangers of snorting hydrocodone and can they be avoided? More on hydrocodone effects when snorted here.

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If you’re thinking about snorting hydrocodone, know what can happen.

Hydrocodone narcotic pain relievers are already strong medicines. Here, we review what happens in the body while snorting hydrocodone, as well as the dangers and safety concerns of if you decide to snort hydrocodone. At the end of the article, we welcome questions about snorting hydrocodone and will try to answer all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Hydrocodone: What are you really snorting?

Hydrocodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain, and also to relieve coughing. But hydrocodone is only available in combination with other active ingredients, which may include acetaminophen, aspirin, guaifenesin, pseudoephedrine, chlorpheniramine. Hydrocodone also likely contains a variety of inactive ingredients, which might include colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, crospovidone, microcrystalline cellulose, povidone, pregelatinized cornstarch, and stearic acid. So, when you snort hydrocodone you also snort additional active and inactive ingredients.

How does snorting hydrocodone affect the body?

Hydrocodone affects the central nervous system of the body. When you snort hydrocodone, the opioid quickly acts on the brain and binds to opioid receptors, which can both alter the body’s perception of pain and cause feelings of euphoria. In addition to affecting the central nervous system, hydrocodone can cause feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, and mood changes at normal doses, which can be more intense when snorted.  Can you die from hydrocodone?  Yes.  Risks of hydrocodone increase when you insufflate hydrocodone nasally.

Snorting hydrocodone to get high

Snorting hydrocodone causes it to be rapidly absorbed into the blood stream through the tissues of the nose. This can be dangerous, because it causes hydrocodone to be absorbed in higher amounts than would normally enter the blood all at once. Snorted doses of hydrocodone can result in overdose or cause slowed breathing, loss of consciousness, and even death. Even if you don’t overdose on hydrocodone, snorting it raises the risk of serious adverse effects.

Snorting hydrocodone vs oral

Narcotic pain medications can be taken in multiple ways. Oral preparations are safer, especially when administered at home or with the direct supervision of a doctor. Snorting hydrocodone causes a quicker onset of effects, causing almost immediate pain relief and euphoric effects. But this quick fix of hydrocodone also puts you at risk for the toxic effects of the drug. Snorting vs. oral hydrocodone can lead to more intense side effects, or quicker onset of adverse reactions.

Furthermore, oral hydrocodone doses are sufficient for analgesia. In fact, taking hydrocodone orally is an effective way to get quick pain relief. Although oral doses of hydrocodone can often causes drowsiness and dizziness, severe side effects are rare. On the other hand, when you snort hydrocodone severe side effects occur more often and can include:

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

Snorting hydrocodone dangers

The side effects of snorting hydrocodone can be serious, and you may not have thought about what can happen. For one, snorting hydrocodone can put you at risk of motor vehicle or machinery accidents due to your impaired reaction time and ability to think clearly. Insufflating hydrocodone can also harm your nasal passages and spread diseases such as infections (cold, flu, bacterial). But one unforeseen danger is that snorting hydrocodone definitely increases the risk that you will become addicted to the medication. Addicted to hydrocodone signs include obsessive thinking about hydrocodone, drug cravings, or continued use despite negative life consequences.  The most serious risk, of course, is that of potential overdose and death.

Snorting hydrocodone safely

You can’t snort hydrocodone safely. But one thing that you can do to reduce harm is to never take more of any hydrocodone-containing medication than is recommended by your doctor. Because this drug is only prescribed in combination with other drugs, any time you snort hydrocodone, you’re snorting other drugs, too. And some of these drugs, acetaminophen in particular, have a very low threshold for overdose. Taking more than 4000 mg of acetaminophen a day can cause low-level liver damage, and 7000 mg or more can lead to a severe overdose, causing coma, irreversible organ damage, and death.

Snorting hydrocodone questions

Do you still have questions about snorting hydrocodone? If so, please let us know. We respond to all hydrocodone questions with a personal and prompt reply.

Reference Sources: PubMed Health: Hydrocodone
Drug Enforcement Administration: Hydrocodone

Medline Plus: Acetaminophen overdose
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.


  1. Hello Steven. I’d suggest that you consult with a pharmacist or call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for a professional medical opinion. The symptoms you describe seem that they can be attributed to opioid overdose, but you’ll need a qualified response in order to determine their cause.

  2. Hi I had a scary event two days ago. I’m using opiates and usually take 5-6 lortab 10 a day, sometimes more and almost all of them done nasally. Monday after taking my 5th pill I had extremely hard times breathing, my whole body was shaking, very weak, almost passed out. I’m confused because from what I’m reading that shouldn’t have happened with only 500mg acetaminophen per pill. I’m deathly afraid of taking regular Tylenol now because of the effects I felt the other night. Does any know why this would have happened and if I’m OK to still take the orally for pain?

  3. Hello Maria. It’s hard to predict. In most cases, septum perforations only appear after habitual, long-term snorting. However, some people develop this problem after only limited nasal drug use. Snorting hydrocodone isn’t really necessary…and oral doses are definitely less risky in terms of harm reduction. Does this help?

  4. If snorting hydrocodone at least four (4) times a day about how long would it take for the decaying of the cartilage in the nose to happen?

  5. This is going to sound like a very odd question, but i have my reason behind it. If you have a drug test with a pain clinic and you have to pass by having the drug lortab show up in a urin test, does snorting the drug lessen your chance of passing the test?

  6. Michele, I snort oxycodone not because it makes my pain better but makes me feel better faster. I have chronic nerve damage and have been on this for 5 years. The snorting doesn’t bother me but I read articles that the ingredients in these meds is what is hurting him.
    Going to an ENT isn’t going to help at all. Cancel the appointment and go to a pain management doctor. Who prescribed his pain meds and why? Go back to him and explain the problem they can give him oxycotin that can’t be crushed and if he takes it as prescribed I promise he will get better. Us drug users will do anything to get and keep taking their drugs.
    I would absolutely love to get off of the pain meds. I bet he would, too.
    How old is he?

  7. Hi Michele. I don’t really know how to advise you or your son, other than to follow the medical advice he is being offered. While pain is a strong deterrent to withdrawal, there are others who take hydrocodone or oxycodone who have gone through spinal fusions or major surgeries who still manage to get off the opioids. I don’t really know the answer for your son, but I hope that he can end the chemical dependence soon.

  8. My son has been snorting hydrocodone along with other painkillers for about 6 months. About 2-3 months into this his throat and nasal cavity became inflamed. He has been trying to deal with this pain for about 3 months by using saline nasal sprays and more hydrocodone. He knows the snorting is causing the problem but the only significant relief he gets is from snorting more. The nasal spray and chloraseptic spray gives a little relief but sometimes this is not enough to relieve it. He says he can deal with the pain during the day much better than at night. At night when he falls asleep his throat and nasal cavity gets extremely dry and he continuously wakes up in extreme pain. He can not get any rest at night without snorting. He is up and down all night long (like every hour to hour and a half). He goes to bed most nights at like 10pm and can not get up until 11am. Seems like a lot but he’s only getting maybe 7-8 hours of sleep and it’s interrupted many times through out the night. We have been to an ENT and the only recommendation he had was use the saline rinse instead of a spray and quit the snorting. He referred him to an Interventional Pain Specialist that can prescribe Suboxone and they suggested he start this for the addiction. He feels like he can quit the snorting but not until he finds a solution for the pain. He is not willing at this point to suffer through the excrutiating pain. He says he has cut back tremendously and is in pain about 90% of the time. He mainly uses it at night so he can get enough relief to sleep. He is so sleep deprived that he is desperate to rest. We have been referred to another ENT who has already said that there is nothing he can do but quit snorting.
    We have an appointment with this ENT for mid August (2 months away). That’s a long time to be in limbo over this when he wants this to be over with and who wants there child to continue down this path taking the chance of more damage or possible overdose. He says that taking the hydro orally does not help the pain. I am desperately seeking help out of this unending cycle.

  9. Hi Rick. Usually the same amount of time for the body to metabolize minus 30 minutes (the time it takes for oral doses of hydrocodone to take effect).

  10. I’m aware of the dangers of snorting hydrocodone and have since stopped doing it. My question is: how long does it take to leave your system? Is the time line the same as orally ingesting this medication?

  11. how does snorting norco 10 325 mess with your brain. does it couse brain damage or any other stuff???

  12. Hi Chris. Snorting hydrocodone delivers analgesic effect quicker to the brain, but it also reduces duration of effect (the length of time you experience pain relief). I’m not sure what’s happening with the lessened withdrawal symptoms; theoretically it doesn’t make sense. Perhaps someone else with direct experience or knowledge can weigh in on this question?

  13. I have been prescribed 10/325’s (80 every 13 days) since 2005 for a lower back injury at work.In the past, yes i have ran out a ew days early and gone through w/d hell. Over the past few months, i have been snorting them, sometimes only a half at a time with the same relief as swallowing them. The few times i have ran out a day or two early i have experienced little or no w/d symptoms after snorting them. Is it in my head or does snorting them lesson w/d symptoms like i have experienced a few times. I guess the 10/325’s dont burn whatsoever to me because of the less amount out tylenol in them. I know its not the wisest thing to to do but it does seem to help the pain faster and if i do happen to run out a few days early, i have almost zero w/d symptoms because of the snorting. Btw, im 41,180 pounds and generaly healthy except for the back injury.

  14. Hello Annika. I have read that mind altering substances like hydrocodone can trigger a “flash back” episodes of hallucinations long after the hallucinogenic agent has been removed from the system. To learn more about the causes and triggers and physiology of hallucinations, do the following search in your internet browser: hallucination

  15. Are hallucinations a possible side effect from snorting a lorotab pill (hydrocodone)?

    My boyfriend ate shrooms tripped a little bit during the experience, but the hallucinations stopped after the shrooms wore off.
    But about 3 weeks after doing shrooms he snorted the lorotab pill during the day.
    The night after snorting the lorotab pill during the day, he had what i think was a hallucination and has had some other very interesting experiences that he thinks might be hallucinations as well. I am trying to figure out what could be causing this to happen to him.

  16. I have been on hydrocodone and oxycodone for about 11 years now. At one point taking up to 20 10/325’s a day, Popping 5 and 6 at a time…ive noticed here recently that if i snort one, i can get the same effects with only one. the 10/325’s dont burn all that much because if the lower APAP in them(325). This has greatly reduced the anount of pills i use and im actually making it to my next refill!!

  17. Hi Jared. Thanks for your question. Opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone act similarly on the central nervous system. And while you might minimize risk of acetaminophen effects using a straight opioid (such as acetaminpohen overdose, or irritation), the other effects and risks remain the same.

    Does that make sense?

  18. Do the same dangers present themselves for snorting oxycodone or other opioids? Are opioids that do not contain acetaminophen any “safer”?

  19. Hi Ash. You can call 1-800-662-HELP to talk with someone about getting treatment for addiction in your city or state. Or to just talk out what you want to do next. It’s a 24 hour national hotline.

  20. ok i have snorted for the last 7 years i know im addicted what can i do to help my self it has effected my life and relationships

  21. Hi Trena. Snorting hydrocodone is one of the most immediate ways to deliver hydrocodone to the brain and is quite addictive! Onset of hydrocodone withdrawal generally coincides with the time of the next habitual dose. And even mild withdrawal symptoms occur if you are taking hydrocodone daily. What doses were you using and did you use hydrocodone every day?

  22. Is it possible to snort hydrocodone for over a year and not be addicted? Is it possible to stop for several days and not have any withdrawals?

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