What happens when you snort Vicodin?

When you snort Vicodin, hydrocodone affects the brain almost instantly and can get you high. But do you risk negative health effects, too? We review here.

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Considering snorting Vicodin?

When you snort Vicodin, your central nervous system receives a high dose of hydrocodone quickly. However, these unfiltered effects of Vicodin can lead to quicker physical dependency on Vicodin than if you were to take Vicodin orally. And while many people ignore the risks and dangers of snorting Vicodin, they are real.  Snorting Vicodin is addictive. Read on to find out more of what snorting Vicodin does to your body and the risks you run every time you snort Vicodin. Plus, a section at the end for your Vicodin questions or to ask for Vicodin addiction help.

What does snorting Vicodin do?

Snorting Vicodin causes hydrocodone to enter the bloodstream faster than oral administration. When you snort Vicodin, the powder is absorbed through the mucus membrane of the nose and into the sinus passageways. Instead of taking about thirty minutes to work on the body, snorting Vicodin only takes about 3 minutes, on average, effects of Vicodin to begin.

Generally, you will feel the effects of Vicodin such as pain relief, relaxation, and an added euphoria when you snort Vicodin. But not only is this method of administration faster, it is also more intense. As Vicodin passes through the body quicker, the effects of Vicodin will wear off faster than oral Vicodin doses. Snorting Vicodin also increases your chances of experiencing negative side effects and damage to your body such as nose and throat irritation or damage to the nasal septum.

Finally, when you snort Vicodin, this can be a sign that you or someone you love may need help.While snorting Vicodin is really effective you can also increase Vicodin tolerance or provoke Vicodin dependency (which can fuel an addiction). People who abuse Vicodin by snorting are more likely to suffer an addiction.

Is snorting Vicodin bad for you?

Yes. Snorting Vicodin is bad for you. The more you use Vicodin in this way, the more you can damage your body. You are also more likely to experience adverse or negative consequences. Your body is less able to shield itself from the side effects Vicodin can cause. When you snort Vicodin you risk experiencing the following side effects:

  • overdose
  • constipation
  • depression
  • depressed breathing
  • increased tolerance
  • increased risk of addiction
  • losing consciousness
  • potential sexual dysfunction

You also will damage your nasal passages and the ability for your body to naturally fend off bacteria and virus. Your nose is a strong first line of defense of pathogens. You could also damage your sense of smell. You could lose your sense of smell all together.

Is snorting Vicodin dangerous?

Yes. Relative to other drugs of abuse, snorting Vicodin is extremely dangerous. One of the ingredients in Vicodin is acetaminophen, which increases the dangers of snorting Vicodin. Overdose on acetaminophen (which can also cause liver damage or liver failure) is a real reality that can be fatal. The added acetaminophen has its own side effects and can actually speed up dangerous reactions happening in the body. And because of how quick Vicodin works on the body, it can be difficult to gauge the onset of overdose and your ability to recover from it. Signs of Vicodin overdose can include:

  • bluish skin
  • clammy skin
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • loss of consciousness
  • respiratory arrest
  • seizures
  • shallow labored breathing
  • sweating
  • vomiting

Is snorting Vicodin effective?

Yes, snorting Vicodin is effective. When you take Vicodin orally you have to process Vicodin through the digestive system. This process does take longer for Vicodin to provide pain relief in the body. Snorting Vicodin is effective mainly because hydrocodonedoesn’t have to go through a more lengthy digestive process. Vicodin goes straight to the brain via the nasal cavities. Vicodin is not only absorbed into the blood stream, hydrocodone is carried to the brain. But just because Vicodin only takes a few minutes to work when snorted, this doesn’t mean that you should start snorting hydrocodone. Reasons you shouldn’t snort hydrocodone include:

  1. Analgesic effect quickly wears off
  2. Damage to nasal and sinus cavities
  3. Damage to the liver/potential liver failure
  4. Increased risk of addiction
  5. Increased development of dependency
  6. Risk of overdose

Can you snort Vicodin?

It is never recommended that you snort Vicodin, nor will a doctor ever prescribe you hydrocodone or Vicodin if s/he know that you snort Vicodin. Ultimately, the decision is yours. You can snort Vicodin… but do you want to run the risks and dangers that snorting Vicodin may cause on your body? Yes, snorting Vicodin acts quicker on the body relieving the pain faster. But, you also run the risk of overdose, liver failure, and damaging nasal passages.

Snorting Vicodin is more a behavior addicts engage in as they need to quickly get high. If this is you, you may want to address abuse of Vicodin and explore the reasons you feel the need to snort Vicodin rather than take it as prescribed.

When you snort Vicodin question

Do you still have questions concerning snorted hydrocodone or Vicodin? Ask us any questions you have and we will respond without judgment. Plus, we try get back to you personally and promptly.

Reference Sources: Medline Plus: hydrocodone and acetaminophen overdose
Drug abuse: National Drug Facts Week
Daily Med: Vicodin
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.


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  1. Hello my friend takes30mg adderal a day amd snorts 5vicodon a day she has been blowingnout an orange colored snot what coulf yhis be

    1. Hi Jewels. Your friend needs help. Call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best treatment for your friend.

  2. I’ve been taking medication from a pain clinic , for a chronic injury whixh has gotten Progressively worse in the last 3 years, 2 hydro 10s 3x daily swallowed kept me pain free for a long time all day. But now I’m starting to realize why my ex fiancé, former military would snort his.. i feel like I can make my prescription last longer snorting it… that one does it for pain relief plus a slight euphoria while just taking them I have to take two to get any pain relief . I don’t like this method but since my state has changed the law regarding g how many pills a dr can right out a day, it’s 5 now… so I can’t do the 2 3 times a day anymore idk… it’s making snorting them seem more appealing because then maybe I’ll be good and without pain by just snorting 3 or 4 a day, probably better on the liver if I could cut back 2-3 pills a day. But snorting them naves it burn under my eyes idk how my ex did it honestly… opinions?

  3. My friend got me addicted to snorting pain pills and i want to stop so badly. I have no insurance and im not working at the moment . the only reason i haven’t been able to stop is because i have done did some kind of nasal damage i think… When i dont have the powder substance in my nose my ears throat nose and cheek/face area burn a very little but hurts bad. Im waking up about 5 times a night and i never used to do that ..what can i do to heal my nose so i can stop this ugly thing i started? Again i cant see a doctor so i need to do something to help heal my nose at home so i can stop snorting them

  4. Look, I’m in no way advocating one way or the other. It has always been my opinion that drugs and how one uses them is their personal choice. Like alcohol, I can’t make you not drink, I can only tell you why you shouldn’t and leave it at that. Having said that, I find most of the answers to be the typical alarmist talk one gets from people who don’t use drugs for a pleasurable experience. Example, one person wrote they snorted one 10mg Vicodin a day. Sorry, but I don’t see the medical evidence that proves that is going to hurt you. NOW, if you have hepatitis or some other kind of liver disease, that’s a whole other story.
    I had, yes HAD, Hep C. It is curable but whatever damage that was done to the liver beforehand will always be there. I was lucky, there was minimal at most damage. My doctor prescribes Norco, exact same thing with less acetaminophen (Tylenol) which is a great liver killer. 90% of the time I take them orally but every once in a while I just feel like getting a buzz and I’ll snort 2-3 10mg in about an hour. I’ve been on them over a year. I’m healthy, have blood work done every 3 months because I’m also HIV positive, and my tests come back with results that are always, and I mean always, in the normal range.
    As I stated, I am not saying a person should take hydrocodone nasally, that is your choice. What I will say against taking it in that manner is that you really will build up a tolerance to it much, much faster. OTOH, I believe that since snorting is such a flash in the pan occurrence for me, while I don’t get high from them taken orally any longer, they still have the same pain relief affect. So my simple suggestion is that there are better drugs to snort (not advocating cocaine use) than Vicodin if you need to get high. If you need to relieve pain AND want to get high, you’re not going to get a high from snorting for a very long period of time. Final word, take them with a glass of water.

    1. Hi Brayden. If you don’t feel well, call 911 ASAP, or call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for an assessment of overdose risk.

  5. if you snort 3-5 vicodin 7.5or 10mgs. how long will it last in your urine ? will it still be in your system the next day till night time? or does it depend on how much you pee through the day by drinking lots of water?

  6. This is a serious question. I take about 7-9 pain pills a day. 10/325’s. I do not take as recommended. I take most of them primarily in morning. 4 when i wake up, 3 in afternoon. Recently ( I’ve done this for about 10 years) I stopped feeling any euphoria associated with Vicodin. Nor any of the other beneficial related affects. If I get lucky I will feel something about every 5-6 days. But typically there is no response to medication. I know about tolerance, but I’m wondering if there is something wrong with my op iof receptors or serotonin or dopamine levels. Wondering if u had words of wisdom.

  7. Can snorting vicoden, rather than swallowing it, prevent you from getting constipated?? I was told this by someone who snorts them and I’m calling shenanigans….they said that’s why they snort them…I think it’s just an excuse to abuse them…jus saying…

    1. Hi Emilio. Some signs of long-term snorting are runny nose, nosebleeds and damages to the inside of the nose.

  8. I have had three attacks of biliary colic in the last year. I am scheduled for corrective surgery in a few weeks. What is the downside of carrying an emergency 600 mg of Vicodin powder and an inch of straw to alleviate the sudden onset, EXCRUCIATING abdominal pain while I’m on my way (hopefully) to the ER? This pain is very, very, very intense. Sudden onset usually immediately after and during a meal, it feels like my stomach is being ripped apart from the inside. I do not smoke, drink alcohol or use recreational drugs. Joe, age 70, Denver

  9. I’ve been dating my bf for 8 months now. He has always been on high dosages of painkillers due to injuries sustsined overseas. He had recently gone to the dr for shoulder pain and found out he needs surgery in february. They upped his dosage to 10/day. I’ve been finding white residue, and some pieces of pills on the floor. He’s in the bathroom for long periods of time. I even found a pipe/straw looking thing in his pocket with white powder in it. I feel in my heart like I know he’s snorting his vicodin pills, and it scares the crap out of me. With everything I’ve found, and there is more, am I wrong to assume this is what’s going on? I’ve confronted him and he tells me I’m stupid, or says I’m an idiot for ever thinking he would do that, however I feel like I’d be an idiot to ignore it!! Is there any way I can test some of my findings at home to be sure that’s what it is?? Please help….I need advice and the last thing I want is to talk to my friends/family or his. It’s killing me though, and consuming my mind!

  10. Terry K. I don’t want to alarm you but that’s a symptom of something much worse. Not being able to function that badly and nodding off that badly to can only be the effects of something strong. That or taking 7-10 Vicodin at at once, which is still bad because that’s already addiction when tolerance is so high you need a handful to feel “high”

    1. Hi Jennifer. Vicodin causes changes in appetite, resulting in either weight loss or weight gain. Some people loose a considerable amount of weight, while others can’t stop feeling hungry all the time. So, it’s different for each individual.

  11. Hello Kabecs. Snorting Vicodin as a delivery option is not recommended by medical practitioners….but I’d suggest that you call in at a local pharmacy and see what kind of practical info they can provide. The delivery mechanism is almost instantaneous, but I’m not sure if the pain relief is increased by this mode of administration, or not. I wish you rest, peace, and pain relief.

  12. I have been diagnosed with a horrible debilitating disease. When my doctors put me on comfort care, they put me on high doses of morphine (15mg every 4 hours) My bones are disintegrating, I’m fed through a port in my chest, and most days I struggle to move.. My doctor retired and my new doctor switched my pain meds to 5mg vicodin…
    It doesn’t work. I’ve been bedridden for weeks and I just want a few moments of not being in pain. Someone suggested trying to snort a pain pill… That it might not last as long but even a 20 minutes break from this pain would be mean so much to me.
    Is this a horrible idea? I’m just so desperate for some relief.
    I’m starting another round of treatments at the local cancer center in about a week, and they are big supporters of not letting people suffer, so I’ll get the help I need soon (hopefully) but I have to get through this week first…
    I’m very good about monitoring my meds and I don’t ever use more than prescribed… Please help with any advice

  13. Been taking Vicodin for several years due to back injury. Same dose and same quantity from the very beginning. Not sure I understand how it wears off faster if snorted. I have never done this but though it enters the blood stream quicker, shouldn’t the effect last the same as taking it orally. Once you time the beginning effects from both orally and snorting?

  14. My bf got high on something I think he got my vicoden I found a straw what effects would a person have on vicoden he was agitated argumentative could not hold his head up couldn’t steady his hands enough to put a pack of cigs in a tight space

  15. I have a friend who snorts vicoden if they snort them but still take the recommended dosage are they still at risk 4 overdosing or possible liver damage?

  16. Hello Michele. Physical dependence or addiction can occur. If your friend has slowed built up tolerance, risk of overdose can occur when Vicodin is mixed with other central nervous system depressants. Additionally, abuse like this can result in long term damage to the internal organs and immune system.

  17. I have a friend that is snorting about 10 vicoden 10mg a day. I am really worried what are the dangers of them doing this many?

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