Smoking Hydrocodone | Is It Dangerous To Smoke Hydrocodone?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on December 6, 2022

Hydrocodone is dangerous to smoke as it causes the drug to go right into the bloodstream and straight to the brain leading to many adverse effects.

Hydrocodone is a central nervous system depressant prescription opioid that is often used to treat moderate to severe pain. 

Unfortunately, like most natural opiates and semi-synthetic opioids, the painkiller also has a high potential for substance abuse, dependence, and addiction. This potential is another reason why smoking it can be so dangerous. You can become addicted to it relatively easily.  

Can You Smoke Hydrocodone?

It is possible to smoke hydrocodone though it’s not as common as other methods of prescription drug abuse like injecting or snorting hydrocodone.  

People who do smoke this opioid often do so by crushing the tablets and heating them up on a piece of tinfoil. The tablet then melts and creates a vapor that is inhaled through a straw or another hollow cylindrical item.

Smoking hydrocodone is not recommended because the whole dose of hydrocodone goes right to the bloodstream and brain.

Hydrocodone is also often combined with acetaminophen to make Vicodin and Lortab. So if you’re smoking a Vicodin tablet, you’re inhaling acetaminophen as well as hydrocodone.

Smoking Hydrocodone & The Risk Of Addiction

Hydrocodone is addictive because it acts on the brain’s reward center. This prescription drug binds to opioid receptors in the brain and increases the amount of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. This increase leads to very intense feelings of euphoria. 

The euphoric feeling can be very addictive and is one of the major reasons people go back to abusing hydrocodone again and again.

This continual drug abuse can lead to physical dependence and opioid drug addiction and can increase your risk of a deadly opioid overdose. 

This is also why the FDA/DEA classifies the drug as a Schedule II controlled substance. Its abuse and addiction potential are what fits it into this category

Effects Of Smoking Hydrocodone

Smoking hydrocodone can bring on many different side effects that can range in intensity from relatively mild to quite severe. These effects can include drowsiness, fatigue, constricted pupils, slowed breathing, and vomiting.

Any form of hydrocodone abuse can increase the severity of side effects as well as the risk of addiction and overdose.

Dangers Of Smoking Hydrocodone

Beyond the side effects that can come with smoking hydrocodone, other possible dangers of this form of drug abuse can include:

  • brain damage (from lack of oxygen)
  • lung and respiratory system infections
  • chronic bronchitis
  • wheezing
  • chronic coughing
  • diminished lung functioning
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • difficulty breathing 
  • emphysema and lung cancer
  • lung and respiratory tissue damage
  • sleeplessness and sleep disorders
  • stumbling, dizziness, and impaired coordination 
  • heart failure
  • overdose

Hydrocodone Overdose

Abusing hydrocodone in any form (smoking, snorting, injection, or taking it orally) can increase the risk of overdose and, in turn, overdose death. There are several signs and symptoms that come with a hydrocodone overdose, including:

  • respiratory depression (slow or shallow breathing)
  • extreme drowsiness
  • hypotension/low blood pressure
  • cold and clammy skin
  • bluish skin
  • loss of consciousness
  • small pupils
  • loss of consciousness
  • disorientation
  • choking or gurgling sound
  • weak pulse

If you notice someone experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, call 911 immediately. An hydrocodone overdose can easily be fatal if left untreated.

Hydrocodone Addiction Treatment

There are several forms of treatment for hydrocodone addiction and substance use disorder, including:

  • medical detox for opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • behavioral therapy
  • group therapy
  • peer support groups
  • mental health counseling

Opioid addiction treatment options are available at both inpatient and outpatient rehab centers. To find out if our inpatient treatment center will work for you or a loved one, please contact us today.

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) — Drug Fact Sheet: Hydrocodone.
  2. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (419) 904-4158
(419) 904-4158