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Ways Of Taking Hydrocodone: Chewing, Injecting, And Parachuting

hydrocodone proper usage

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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.

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Table of Contents

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.

This can cause infection and severe damage to the nasal pathways, septum, and surrounding tissues.

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.

This method is especially dangerous and damaging to the body as it does not absorb these chemicals.

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.

If this is suspected, it is recommended to seek medical help and treatment.

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.

The risks are similar to those of smoking, plugging, and parachuting the drug, only higher. Injecting the substance presents a much bigger risk of a fatal overdose because it is introduced into the system more quickly.

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.

However, it is not only dangerous but also suggestive of abuse and addiction. Even a single plugging after crushing Hydrocodone may cause wounds or injuries around the sensitive rectum, which can then develop into lacerations and lead to ulceration. They can become extremely painful. It can get to the point of becoming a medical emergency, and that is a sure sign that someone has been plugging the depressant.

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.

This method of administration is particularly dangerous because one can die from obstruction of the airway by the paper inhaled.

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.

Injecting, smoking, plugging, the lean cocktail, and the other methods described above can exacerbate Hydrocodone adverse reactions, such as blurry vision, confusion, excessive sweating, abnormal breathing, and abnormal heart rate. The risks are even higher when taking substances past their expiration date. If Hydrocodone expired, it needs to be disposed of accordingly.

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.

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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Olivier George

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.


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