Ways Of Taking Hydrocodone: Chewing, Injecting, And Parachuting

Last Updated: June 10, 2020

Authored by Olivier George, Ph.D.

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

When taking Vicodin, Norco, etc. (other names for Hydrocodone) orally, 20-30 minutes need to pass by before one begins to feel the effects. Sometimes, people take this painkiller and central nervous system depressant in other ways – parachuting, plugging, injecting and lean – to speed the process up. This is done to get a better high, to potentiate the drug, because it has been prescribed in doses insufficient to manage pain, or out of plain curiosity. This is not without risk, especially when the drug is taken in a given combination, as with Flexeril and Hydrocodone.

Ways to Take Hydrocodone

This drug is most commonly found in tablet form. Hydrocodone sublingual form – oral administration – is the form doctors prescribe. However, some people will find themselves wondering how to take Hydrocodone in other ways. Below is a list of all the possible ways to take this painkiller:

  • Hydrocodone snorting
  • Smoking
  • Shooting
  • Plugging
  • Parachuting
  • Drinking
  • Chewing
  • Through the skin (Hydrocodone ointments and patches)

After swallowing, snorting is the most common method of taking the drug. The users crush the drug into a powder form and snort.

Chewing Hydrocodone is rarer than parachuting, plugging, injecting and lean. This is done to feel the effects of the drug faster as it dissolves more quickly. It is rare because of the taste of the pills (among other reasons), which has been reported as unpleasant by some.
A Hydrocodone patch is another way (apart from the ointment) to take the painkiller through the skin. This is also not common because of the very limited effect one feels using this method. Patches can be prescribed by a doctor.

Can One Smoke Hydrocodone?

tinfoil shaped for smoking hydrocodoneThe drug is crushed, usually by being heated on tinfoil, and then inhaled. Smoking provides a quicker way for the drug to take effect because it passes into the bloodstream directly via the nasal passage and lungs.
To one’s disappointment, smoking Hydrocodone does not have the same effect as when taken orally. Additional substances like fillers and binders that are used in creating the pill are inhaled as well.

Effects are exacerbated if the person combines the drug with weed to enhance their experience when smoking. If done long-term, the person faces the risk of lung disease.
Signs that somebody has been smoking the drug include irregular breathing, erratic movements, and impaired motor skills.

Can One Shoot Hydrocodone? Effects and Risks

As with preparing the drug for smoking, the process of injecting Hydrocodone into the veins starts with crushing it into a powder form. The substance is then dissolved in water, yielding a solution that one can inject into a vein, muscle, or another place below the skin.

Beyond the obvious signs that someone has been injecting the drug (needle marks on one or more parts/regions of the body), there are also reports of “the heart beating wildly” (tachycardia), complaints of muscle weakness, fainting spells, and, again, erratic, uncoordinated physical movements.

Plugging Hydrocodone: Rectal Administration

Plugging is a form of rectal administration, but it is not the same as taking a Hydrocodone suppository. It does involve inserting the drug into the anus, but the similarities end there. Hydrocodone suppositories are solid, sold in packages, and prescribed by a doctor. Plugging, on the other hand, involves crushed the drug into powder and mixing it with water to create a solution, which is injected into the anus via a needleless or oral syringe.
The effect of this is a faster and more intense high.

Parachuting Hydrocodone: Taking a Fatal Risk

Parachuting is a method of swallowing by folding or rolling Hydrocodone powderhydrocodone pill and crushed into powder on the piece of paper prepared for parachuting in a piece of tissue or toilet paper to ingest. Users usually do this to avoid the unpleasant taste of the drug while securing a faster and more prolonged high. There is a sustained-release effect as the “parachute” (paper) unravels or dissolves.

Signs of parachuting may include difficulty breathing or stomach pain. Other possible signs and risks of parachuting include bowel perforation or obstruction.

Drinking the Depressant: Hydrocodone Syrup Lean

“Lean” is a cocktail containing a liquid form of the painkiller with an antihistamine (cough syrup) and a beverage, usually Sprite or Mountain Dew. Orange or red berry juice is also used. One form of the cocktail is known as Hydrocodone Homatropine syrup lean. The combination with Homatropine can be prescribed legally.
The lean cocktail provides a faster and longer high, but is again not without risk. When drunk in high amounts, lean can cause abnormal drowsiness and breathing problems, and even prove fatal.

Coping with Symptoms of Abuse and Addiction

Snorting, parachuting, plugging, injecting and lean are all indicative of abuse and can lead to addiction. A good therapist can help someone recognize Hydrocodone addiction symptoms.
There comes the point when one starts getting concerned about their use of a substance. Enlisting the help of a specialist at one of the drug treatment centers can be crucial at this time.

Page Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20938324

Published on: September 21st, 2018

Updated on: June 10th, 2020

About Author

Olivier George, Ph.D.

Olivier George is a medical writer and head manager of the rehab center in California. He spends a lot of time in collecting and analyzing the traditional approaches for substance abuse treatment and assessing their efficiency.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.


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