Snorting Dilaudid | Effects & Dangers

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on March 12, 2023

Snorting Dilaudid produces an intense opioid effect that makes it more addictive and raises overdose risk. Prolonged Dilaudid insufflation can also cause erosion of nasal tissue and damage to the throat and lungs.

Dilaudid is a brand name for hydromorphone, an opioid analgesic (painkiller). It’s typically prescribed for severe pain or chronic pain from cancer and is available as a tablet, capsule, or oral solution.

Some people crush Dilaudid tablets into a powder and snort them. This practice causes a different effect on the body than taking the pills orally. Snorting Dilaudid can lead to physical and mental damage, such as eroded nasal tissue and opioid addiction.

Effects Of Snorting Dilaudid

As an opioid, Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is a central nervous system depressant. When you snort it, you’ll likely feel euphoric and relaxed. These effects make opioids attractive for abuse, but opioids also dull your senses and cause insatiable cravings.

When you take Dilaudid orally, it travels through your digestive system before your body gradually distributes it into your bloodstream. Snorting Dilaudid takes it straight to the bloodstream through tiny nasal blood vessels. The effect is immediate and intense.

Increased Side Effects

Snorting Dilaudid can make side effects more extreme. Dilaudid side effects include:

  • dry mouth
  • lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • insomnia
  • sweating
  • headaches
  • itching
  • muscle pain
  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • anxiety
  • depression

Severe Dilaudid side effects may be:

  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • rash, hives, or swelling
  • nausea and vomiting
  • erectile dysfunction
  • decreased sexual desire
  • agitation
  • loss of coordination
  • hallucinations

These side effects can occur with prescribed use, but Dilaudid abuse increases the risk of adverse effects and complications.

Dangers Of Snorting Dilaudid

Snorting Dilaudid can lead to overdose, addiction, and damage to the nose, throat, and lungs.

Dilaudid Overdose

Because Dilaudid goes directly into the bloodstream when you snort it, the risk of overdose is high. Dilaudid is formulated to reach your blood more slowly, not all at once. When you snort a high dose (or even a dose that’s safe to take orally), it might be more than your body can handle.

Hydromorphone is available as immediate-release (Dilaudid) or extended-release tablets (Exalgo). The extended-release formulation is especially dangerous to snort because it contains enough hydromorphone to get you through a full day.

Symptoms of a Dilaudid (hydromorphone) overdose include:

  • slow, shallow, or stopped breathing (respiratory depression)
  • blue skin, lips, or nails
  • cold, clammy skin
  • very low blood pressure
  • slow heart rate
  • extreme drowsiness
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness
  • coma
  • death

Combining Dilaudid with other prescription opioids, opiates, benzodiazepines, or alcohol raises the chance of a fatal overdose. 

Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal agent, can temporarily block overdose symptoms. It’s saved many lives by buying time for healthcare professionals to arrive.

Naloxone (Narcan) is available over the counter in most large Ohio pharmacies. If you or someone you know is abusing Dilaudid, it’s wise to have naloxone on hand. 

Because someone else usually has to administer naloxone, you shouldn’t snort Dilaudid when you’re alone. Ohio has Good Samaritan laws that protect you if you’re helping someone with an overdose.

Dilaudid Addiction

Snorting Dilaudid has a more profound effect on the brain than taking it orally as prescribed. 

Dilaudid activates opioid receptors and increases dopamine, a reward chemical that reinforces behaviors. Snorting a drug produces a rush of dopamine, which makes it more likely you’ll do it again. Each time you snort Dilaudid, you feed an addiction. 

Drug abuse and physical dependence often go hand-in-hand. Just as your mind starts craving Dilaudid, your body will begin needing it to function.

Nasal Tissue Damage

Dilaudid isn’t pure hydromorphone—it has fillers that make up the tablet. Those fillers aren’t gentle on the delicate skin inside your nose. Powdered Dilaudid can irritate the skin and sensitive nasal blood vessels, and prolonged abuse may lead to tissue erosion.

Snorting Dilaudid can cause nasal tissue damage that leads to:

  • a chronic runny nose
  • nosebleeds
  • loss of smell
  • a whistling sound when breathing
  • a hole between the nostrils (septum)
  • a hole in the roof of the mouth (palate)

Damage To The Throat & Lungs

When you snort Dilaudid, it can travel to the back of your throat or down into your lungs. Dilaudid irritates the throat and lungs just as it does the nose. You might develop a sore throat, hoarse voice, or breathing problems.

Dilaudid Abuse & Ohio Addiction Treatment

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Dilaudid as a Schedule II controlled substance, with opioid drugs like oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). Schedule II substances have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Dilaudid abuse is using the drug in a way other than prescribed. Snorting Dilaudid is dangerous and never recommended. If you or a loved one are struggling with Dilaudid abuse, treatment centers are available across Ohio.

At Ohio Recovery Center we provide customized opioid addiction treatment programs. 

Treatment options include detox and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which combines addiction medicine (like methadone) with behavioral therapy and counseling for a whole-person approach.

MAT uses mild drugs that curb cravings and withdrawal symptoms so you can focus on recovery. Dilaudid treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy, art therapy, yoga, exercise, and support groups. 

Take the first step toward healing today. Reach out to an Ohio Recovery Center specialist now to learn more.

  1. National Library of Medicine: DailyMed — Label: Dilaudid - hydromorphone hydrochloride tablet
  2. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydromorphone

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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