Is Snorting Heroin Safer Than Injecting It?

Snorting Heroin and Bloody NoseAlthough snorting heroin may be perceived as less dangerous than injection (intravenous or IV) use of this drug, the health risks and potential for addiction and heroin overdose are significant.  Heroin is a powerfully addictive and illicit drug in the opioid family. It is a chemical modification of morphine, which derives from the opium poppy plant, and is converted back to morphine once it’s in the brain, where it binds to opioid receptors to cause its effects.

How People Use Heroin

People commonly inject, snort, or smoke heroin. Each of these methods induces an intense high shortly after administration. Heroin causes users to experience euphoria, drowsiness, and altered pain perception.  However, it also can also cause profound respiratory depression, coma, and death.

Snorting Heroin – Why It Is Dangerous

Snorting heroin involves either inhaling powdered heroin or heroin dissolved in small amounts of liquid through the nose. The drug then enters the bloodstream through the nasal tissues. It’s usually snorted by using a straw or rolled up paper. Those who snort heroin might not feel the full initial euphoric “rush” that intravenous users do, but the ensuing effects are largely indistinguishable.

It typically takes about 10 to 15 minutes to feel the effects of heroin when snorted, as opposed to injecting, which can produce effects as quickly as seconds after administration. People who have allergies or congested sinuses might need more time before they feel the effects.

Those who snort also carry the risk of asthma attacks, nosebleeds, breathing problems, and damage and irritation to the nasal passages, sinuses, and cartilage of the nose. People who share straws also run the risk of contracting various viral and bacterial infections from other users.

Research suggests that snorting heroin has become more popular as an alternative to IV use. This shift might be due to the increase in purity of heroin in certain areas (while other areas heroin is mixed with other more dangerous chemicals): Snorting the opioid is typically less efficient than injecting, but the higher purity allows a user to get high more easily with this mode of administration. This change could possibly be the reason more teenagers and young adults initiate heroin use than in the past.

Heroin use affects each person differently. A person’s reaction to snorting heroin depends on their overall physical health, the purity of the drug, and how much and how frequently they use the drug.

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Written by Joann Miller, Blogger for Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News, and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)

Edited and Published By William Charles, Owner and Publisher

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