Methadone Snorting – The Reasons Not To Do That Will Surprise

snorting methadone

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When one takes this drug as the doctor prescribes, methadone works as a long-acting painkiller. People also use it to reduce withdrawal symptoms from other opioids. They include codeine, morphine, oxycodone, and heroin. When patient uses it properly, this drug can help wean patients off opioids. It works as they give smaller and smaller doses. They do this until eventually, the patient does not need any of the drug at all to feel “normal.”

Table of Contents

Ways Of Methadone Abuse

Currently, the three main forms of methadone are tablets, liquid, and wafer form.  Usually, they give the medication in its liquid or wafer form. Currently, it’s the practice of most of the programs that administer this drug as part of an opiate addiction treatment. Furthermore, it’s for a good reason. These oral solutions are easier to control. Therefore, they pose less danger to patients.
The tablet or pill form, however, lends itself to other means of use. Abusers sometimes crush these pills up into a powdered form.

So, can one snort methadone?
Yes, it is possible.  However, medical professionals do not recommend doing so due to the many risks from this method of ingestion. Snorting methadone is an abuse.
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Dangers of Snorting Methadone

The quick high one obtains from snorting methadone does not come without consequence. Sure, snorting the drug accelerates and intensifies the drug’s desired effects. This includes euphoria, lightheadedness, dizziness, and changes in mood. The same goes for the drug’s damaging effects, both physical and mental. The probability of overdosing on the drug is also much higher when someone snorts it.

Difference Between Methadone And Opiates

When taken orally, it is subject to a controlled-release mechanism. This introduces the drug into the bloodstream at a slow and steady rate over an extended period of time. When a person snorts this drug, he or she experiences the full effects of the drug almost immediately. It is because of the drug is in a fine and powdery form. As a result, it is able to enter the bloodstream directly through the nasal membrane and tissues.
Yes, it is physically addictive. However, no matter how individuals use it, snorting it is more likely to make them mentally addicted to the drug. This is due to the intense reaction person experiences.

Side Effects of Snorting Methadone

Physical Side Effects

By snorting methadone, a person runs the risk of causing significant damage to the nasal cavity. This is because of the extra chemicals present in these pills. While the majority of the tab is the drug, the pill also contains other ingredients. They add them mostly for consistency purposes. This might include starch, microcrystalline cellulose, and magnesium stearate.

This drug has many side effects when patients take it as the doctor prescribes.

When a person snorts the drug, he or she overrides the extended-release mechanism. This is a safety mechanism the drug operates on when taken orally. Therefore, this action introduces too much of the drug into the system too quickly.
As a result, it intensifies some of the drug’s side effects and other, more serious side effects may occur. They include:

  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Fainting/ loss of consciousness
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Clammy skin

Psychological Side Effects

When someone takes it as the doctor prescribes, a person can quickly develop a physical dependence on the drug. However, when they snort it, it produces a high that is similar to other opioids. This reaction creates some changes to a person’s brain. As a result, they are more susceptible to developing a mental dependence on this drug. For example, it can be a methadone addiction.

Methadone Deaths and Overdoses

Indeed, the gap between an acceptable dose of methadone and a dangerous dose is small.
Currently, the companies designed this drug as an extended-release medication. Therefore, taking more than three in one day can cause the medication to build up in the body. Consequently, this can easily result in a very slow breathing rate and an irregular heartbeat. This can be very dangerous.

Notably, about 5,000 people die from methadone-related overdoses every year. This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Furthermore, in 2009, this drug led to about one in three deaths due to prescription painkillers.

View Sources
  1. Dale O., Hoffer C., Sheffels P., Kharasch E. D. Disposition of nasal, intravenous, and oral methadone in healthy volunteers. 2002; 72(5):536-45.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Is the use of medications like methadone and buprenorphine simply replacing one addiction with another? 2018.
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.


Leave a comment

  • Smoothspray
    I just wanted to point out that methadone insufflation of methadone can irritate the lung tissue resulting in pulmonary edema. The addict can drown in their own thick pulmonary mucus There are several case reports in the literature.
  • Dave
    I have to say, as far as the statement that snorting or injecting methadone can cause an addiction or dependence on methadone, if you are on prescribed methadone for either addiction or pain YOU ARE ALREADY DEPENDENT ON IT PERIOD. just like with any opiate drug if you suddenly stop you will go into severe debilitating withdrawal. If you go into withdrawal your body is addicted to it. You will crave it if you suddenly don’t have it. That’s the definition of being addicted or dependant. Unfortunately as a means to get people off of street drugs and keeping them from suffering withdrawals or in the case of chronic pain patients it’s very effective in relieving a patients pain as they don’t need to keep going on higher doses like standard opiate pain drugs, it’s a necessary evil. But in the end if you use it either way, through legitimate programs or illicitly by getting it illegally, your body will still be addicted to it.
  • Allan
    From my past, 40+ drug abuse years, I recall snorting a narcotic shortens its time of effectiveness; it other words, “its ‘legs’ are significantly shortened.” When its designed to be taken orally, doing so will prolong its effectiveness.