Vicodin (hydrocodone) is one of many prescription opioids. Opioids are highly addictive substances. Taking Vicodin for longer than necessary, not as prescribed or snorting Vicodin, is a form of drug abuse.
While all drug abuse can pose health risks, there are some specific dangers of snorting Vicodin. Snorting can damage the nose, throat, mouth, and lungs. Snorting also increases the risk of overdose. If a person is snorting Vicodin, they may require addiction treatment.
Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid use disorder affects millions of people across the US every year. Opioid addiction is difficult to overcome without adequate addiction treatment.
An opioid drug works as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. This will give the user an overall feeling of relaxation, well-being, and pleasure. Prescription opioid analgesics work as powerful pain relievers due to their effect on brain chemistry. Opiates bind to the opioid receptors in the nerve cells, blocking pain messages to the brain.
If a person struggles with chronic physical pain, they could develop a physical dependence on Vicodin’s pain-relieving effects. As medical professionals are aware of certain prescription drugs’ proclivity for substance abuse, they should only be prescribed for severe pain. Vicodin effectively helps to manage moderately severe pain for a short time, but it is not suitable for long-term pain relief. A person takes over-the-counter pain relievers to treat moderate or mild ailments.
Anyone can develop a substance addiction. Addiction is a chronic illness that needs lifelong management. There are no specific indicators of who is most at risk of developing an addiction. However, there is an increased risk for young people, women, and those with a family history of addiction.
Addiction will always begin with the initial use of a substance. In the case of opioid hydrocodone, it can often start with the prescription drug Vicodin. Over time, the person could become dependent on the drug or engage in substance abuse. If a person has developed an addiction, they may be unable to legally obtain a prescription. It is common for people in this situation to visit multiple doctors to try and get a prescription. This practice is known as ‘doctor shopping’.
Vicodin abuse could look like taking the substance in higher quantities than prescribed, illegally obtaining the substance, or taking the substance to obtain the pleasure effects rather than for pain. Some people abuse hydrocodone by snorting Vicodin tablets or even solubilizing the powder for injecting Vicodin. This is a dangerous practice, as misusing a drug increases the chances of addiction. Snorting or injecting this prescription drug when it is prescribed for oral administration is a good indicator of a potential Vicodin addiction.
When a person abuses a substance for a long time, they can become mentally or physically dependent. Drug dependence makes quitting the substance incredibly difficult as the body has developed a tolerance. If a person suddenly stops taking the substance after some time, the body will go into shock. The person will experience psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms.
Opioids are known to have a difficult withdrawal period. For this reason, many people opt for the addiction treatment process known as a medically supervised detox.
A detox will use addiction medicine to ease the person off hydrocodone. This can help the person through the withdrawal symptoms and prevent a relapse. Some common withdrawal symptoms of Vicodin include:
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle aches
- Low blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Intense cravings
- Sweating or chills
The severity of a person’s withdrawal symptoms will depend on how long they engaged in Vicodin misuse. For example, a person struggling with addiction for over a decade would have significantly higher withdrawal discomfort than someone using for six months. It is important to disclose the severity of the drug use when seeking advice on treatment options.
Can You Snort Vicodin?
Snorting Vicodin is a method of choice for many people who suffer from Vicodin addiction. To snort the substance, the person will crush a Vicodin tablet into a white powder. They may use a straw or another cylindrical device to inhale the powder.
Snorting drugs is a method of choice as the nose is full of nerve endings. By snorting hydrocodone, the effects will be felt within fifteen minutes, compared to sixty minutes if the tablet is taken orally. However, snorting Vicodin comes with its own unique physical consequences.
If a person continues to abuse Vicodin, they may require addiction treatment. Vicodin use should only be as directed by a doctor to relieve moderate to extreme pain.
Dangers and Effects
Snorting drugs has adverse consequences. As the powder is inserted directly into the nose, the respiratory system is most affected. The nose is full of delicate tissue that is damaged over time by frequent snorting. As a result, the nasal septum can become eroded and over time, it can break down. The person may experience frequent nosebleeds or trouble breathing.
In cases of extreme, prolonged drug use, a person could develop a whistling sound when they breathe due to damage to the mucous membranes. In fact, they could even lose their sense of smell. The small hairs within the nasal cavity exist to stop direct and other foreign particles from entering the body. Frequent snorting can cause these hairs to become damaged or break down, leaving the body vulnerable to infection. Seeking addiction treatment can prevent these adverse effects from occurring.
People who snort drugs may do so in a recreational setting. For this reason, it is common for people to share drug paraphernalia used for snorting. Among substance abusers, bloodborne illnesses are commonly spread. If a person shares drug paraphernalia and comes in contact with infected blood, they could potentially contract HIV, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C. This risk is increased if the person is injecting Vicodin and sharing needles.
When a person snorts a substance, it drips back through the nose into the throat. This can cause damage to the mouth and throat. It can cause a person’s voice to become strained after using. Snorting also can cause the substance to enter the lungs, causing asthma and trouble breathing. When a person swallows, the substance drip can enter the stomach. This can cause issues in the digestive system.
Extreme substance abuse is known to cause kidney, heart, and liver failure. This is especially true if the person is mixing drugs, abusing alcohol, or has suffered from addiction for a long time. Seeking treatment as soon as possible can prevent these adverse health consequences.
Snorting Vicodin can be dangerous as the person may take more Vicodin than initially intended. This carries a significantly higher risk of overdose.
Vicodin (Hydrocodone) Overdose
Opioids are responsible for millions of overdose deaths in the US each year. An opioid overdose is a medical emergency and the person will require emergency treatment.
Without treatment, a Vicodin overdose can be fatal. Prescription drugs are designed to enter the bloodstream gradually, but snorting is almost a rapid onset. The risk of overdose is greatly increased if a person is using other substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or cocaine.
Symptoms of a Vicodin (Acetaminophen) Overdose
If you suspect a person has taken a Vicodin overdose, contact the emergency services for treatment immediately. Common overdose symptoms include:
- Blue tinge to skin, lips, and nails
- Slowed breathing
- Weak or no pulse
- Loss of consciousness
- Muscle spasms
- Pinpoint pupils
It is important to contact the emergency services for immediate treatment. Naloxone is a substance that is given as a treatment for an opioid overdose and could prevent death.
Addiction Treatment Programs
If you or a loved one requires Vicodin addiction treatment, Alina Lodge can help. We offer a 28-day minimum stay rehab at our treatment centers in New Jersey. We understand that addiction looks different for everyone, so we provide a unique treatment process for each individual’s needs.
Addiction doesn’t just impact the person. We understand the strain addiction can place on family relationships, so we offer treatment that includes a family therapy program. Call us today to start your treatment. Addiction can be difficult to overcome, but with the right support, it is possible.