man snorting heroin

Heroin is an opioid drug that typically comes in the form of a white or brown powder. In some cases, it can also come in a black sticky form known as black tar heroin.

It is highly addictive and can be injected, smoked, or snorted. Because of its addictive qualities, many people will become dependent on the drug without realizing the risks. Our rehab center in Chicago is here to help.

The Side Effects of Snorting Heroin

While snorting is not the most popular means of administering heroin, some people think snorting is safer and will choose to snort heroin to avoid IV drug use complications like the risk of HIV. Along with lowered health risks, many heroin users also mistakenly believe that snorting heroin makes it less addictive, but this is not the case. No matter how it is administered, heroin is addictive, and most people will need assistance in order to finally stop. Snorting heroin also comes with its own set of added dangers.

The Effects of a Heroin High

Snorting has a slower rate of absorption than injection, so it will take a few minutes for someone to start to feel the effects of snorting heroin. The heroin high may last for several hours before withdrawal symptoms start to kick in for those who are dependent.

The effects of a heroin high include:

  • Rush of euphoria
  • Flushed, warm skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling of heaviness in extremities
  • Drowsiness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Possible itching1

Some people believe that the dangers of snorting heroin only apply to long-term use, but this is not the case. While the immediate effects of heroin are associated with a high, it can also lead to problems. Because the heroin high may be accompanied by pleasure effects, many people who try heroin will use it again. Eventually, continued use can lead to dependence and dangerous long-term effects. Snorting heroin can also lead to overdose. If someone snorts heroin and is showing signs of overdose like struggling to breath, vomiting, irregular or slow pulse, or loss of consciousness, seek immediate medical help.

The Long-Term Effects of Snorting Heroin

Like with most drugs of abuse, prolonged and heavy use can lead to severe consequences for a person’s health. These problems will only get worse over time, but may be somewhat reversible if use stops.

The long-term effects of snorting heroin include:

  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Nose bleeds
  • Problems swallowing
  • Hole in the cartilage that separates the nostrils
  • Damage to kidneys and liver
  • Decreased immune system
  • Constipation
  • Malnutrition
  • Brain changes and damage leading to lower cognitive abilities
  • Addiction and its secondary problems2,3

Even if people are aware of the heroin snorting effects and risks, some people are unable to stop because of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that occur after dependence begins. For these people, our heroin rehab in Chicago can help them work through withdrawal and quit for good.

What to Do If Someone Is Snorting Heroin

Drug abuse of any kind can be dangerous, so if you suspect that someone you care about is snorting heroin, you should try to get them into opiate addiction treatment immediately. The damaging effects of snorting heroin will only get worse as time goes on.

Signs that someone is snorting heroin include:

  • Drug paraphernalia like rolled paper, straws, a mirror, a credit card or something with a straight edge
  • Frequent nose bleeds or nasal issues
  • Lying or secretive behavior
  • General decline in appearance or hygiene
  • Unusual behavior
  • Financial problems

People may not really understand the risks of snorting heroin, but they need help. To get them treatment or to help for yourself, call us today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our programs at Banyan Chicago and how we may be able to help.

Sources & References:

  1. NIH - What are the immediate (short-term) effects of heroin use?
  2. NIH - What are the long-term effects of heroin use?

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Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.