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  • Is Snorting Heroin Really Safer Than Other Methods?

    Snorting is the practice of inhaling heroin through the nose. This practice has increasingly been reported among the youth, especially males between the age of 18 and 25. Since the 1990s, the snorting of heroin has significantly grown in prevalence.

    Snorting Heroin

    A straw or rolled paper is mostly used by heroin users to snort the drug. Others also dissolve the drug into a water and ‘shoot’ through the nose using a syringe’s barrel. When the drug gets to the nose, it is absorbed in the tiny blood vessels and thereafter it goes to the brain through the bloodstream.

    Heroin use is harmful in any way it is used. Apart from affecting the user, the drug use may also have effects on other people too. There are various disadvantages of the use of heroin that do not only touch on the users but sometimes the whole community or society at large.

    The addictive nature of heroin makes it more dangerous even when snorted. In essence, any method used to administer heroin is as dangerous as the drug too. Injection is one of the worst methods, more so when the same needle is used by many people. Heroin use may cause a number of effects to the user, from simple drowsiness to devastating effects like death.

    Why People Snort Heroin

    Snorting HeroinPeople snort heroin because it is the easiest way to get it into the body. Snorting heroin requires little “prep time” and avoids the use of needles, which can expose users to infections and other dangers. Snorting heroin also helps users avoid the social stigma that comes with “track marks” and other telltale signs of heroin use.

    Snorting is perceived as the easiest way use heroin. It is therefore seen as an appealing method as compared to other methods like use of injections. Moreover, snorting heroin does not require a lot of paraphernalia such as syringes. It, therefore, becomes easily administered.  Compared to smoking and injection, snorting is less risky since the other methods may cause direct damage to the blood vessels.

    Use of contaminated needles may further worsen the effects of using needles or syringes. This method may also carry a social stigma, which heroin users strive to avoid at all costs. As a result of these reasons, snorting is preferred to injection and smoking.

    Dangers of Snorting

    Snorting is reported as one of the most preferred methods of heroin use hence carries considerate risk outcomes. This is particularly because of the high amount of heroin that can users snort than inject to their bodies. It becomes hard to take care of addiction as a result of snorting heroin since it is so easy to perform.

    What are the dangers of snorting heroin?

    While heroin as a substance is dangerous no matter what, the dangers of snorting heroin include:

    • Irritation/ inflammation of nasal tissues
    • Greater susceptibility to sinus and other infections
    • Respiratory complications
    • Lung damage
    • Intestinal damage
    • Risk of overdose due to the delay in the amount of time it takes to reach the brain

    Additionally, tolerance to snorting is seemingly high making users vulnerable to a lot of dangers including overdose. In essence, snorting takes the heroin slowly to the brain as compared to shooting or use of injections. However, users may easily overdose while snorting than when using injections. This makes snorting dangerous.

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), heroin snorting is still high and addictive among the youth. NIDA also confirms that more than 15% of heroin users who snort transform to use for injections and smoking within a year. Snorting still contributes to a high number of addiction causing serious health problems, and at its worst, death cases.

    A great number of users who snort heroin develop addiction within a few days or weeks. Over 23% of new users develop addiction within a short period of time, confirms NIDA. Additionally, the rise in heroin use in the recent years is accompanied by the ever increasing death rates as a result of drug abuse and particularly heroin. It is further realizable that over 90% of heroin users also abuse or have abused other drugs in their lives. This furthers the possibilities of overdose and the consequences related to drug abuse.

    Is snorting heroin safer than other methods?

    No, snorting heroin is not safer than other methods. Snorting heroin can actually be more dangerous than other methods considering the drug’s effects take longer to reach the brain. Because of this, users feel as if they need more of the drug to feel its effects, when really, they may have ingested a lethal amount already.

    Potential Side-Effects of Snorting

    White and brown heroin powdersSo, can you snort heroin without having to worry about the side-effects? Use of heroin may have different effects on the user and the society at large. Millions of people are affected indirectly by heroin use either as friends, family members or relatives of heroin users. The community too suffers socially when the youth are exposed to drugs.

    On heroin users, excessive and repeated snorting may cause irritation, breathing failures, damage of tissues lined in the nose and sometimes it may cause nasal septum. Asthmatic patients who use heroin are worse hit when they overdose. Such patients may easily get asthma attacks leading to serious health complications thereafter.

    An immediate risk or effect related to snorting heroin is an overdose. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that snorting of heroin alone causes over 60% of overdose. The assumption that snorting takes some time before the drug gets to the brain makes users forget on regulating possibilities of overdose.

    In addition to overdose, snorting easily causes addiction to heroin faster or quickly. First-time users of heroin quickly become regular users and soon overdose, especially when they snort the drug.

    Overdose of heroin is mainly expressed in the following signs or symptoms:

    • Low blood pressure.
    • Bluish nails.
    • Nose bleeding.
    • Breathing difficulty.
    • Tongue discoloration.
    • Depression
    • Disoriented body.
    • Paranoia
    • Coma

    Apart from these, snorting of heroin also leads to damage of the mucus membranes of the nose when practice continues for long. This causes irritation and inflammation of the membranes with time, making such a user vulnerable to infections and other such sinus problems.

    As a result, the tissues are damaged. This may further result in lung problems if the user continues with snorting for long. Respiratory conditions, intestinal damages and depression are also associated with too much snorting of heroin. These problems become more chronic when substances used to cut heroin are also dangerous or harmful to the body.

    Some side effects of snorting may therefore include:

    • Feeling of fatigue
    • Itchy skin
    • Nausea
    • Disturbed breathing
    • Reduced sex drive
    • Vomiting

    When snorting continues for long, users may experience some complicated effects. Among these cases may involve damage to the brain leading to death. Snorting leads to accumulation to the heroin drug in the bloodstream for a longer time since it is slowly taken through to the brain. Under these circumstances, one might easily get carried away and overdose.

    Final Words

    Snorting of heroin is resorted to by users due to the dire consequences associated with injection of the drug into the body. Users understand and know that use of needles may affect or block the arteries, especially when done causally. Moreover, sharing of needles may increase chances of contracting infectious diseases like HIV/AIDs.  Although it might not carry the additional health risks, snorting heroin itself is still as dangerous as any method used in taking in heroin into the body.

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