Plugging Norco | Effects & Dangers Of Norco Rectal Use
Rectal abuse of combination analgesic medications that contain hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Noroc) increases the risk of overdose and serious rectal health problems.
Combination painkiller medications similar to brand name products like Norco, Lortab, and Vicodin have potential for abuse, including unusual and high-risk methods of administration like rectal administration (plugging).
This process works because of the structure of the anal cavity, which contains a high density of blood vessels and thin membranes able to rapidly absorb drugs into the bloodstream, much more rapidly than when medications are swallowed.
Prescription drugs can be tampered with and modified to be taken rectally, usually being crushed into powder, mixed with water, and administered with a syringe.
Plugging is also sometimes recommended as a form of harm reduction for those who have experienced severe harm due to injecting or smoking illicit drugs, though plugging is not without its own significant health risks.
Effects Of Plugging Norco
Norco, now only available in generic form, is a combination medication featuring the strong semi-synthetic opioid hydrocodone and the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen. It is prescribed for moderate to severe pain and is usually taken by mouth.
Plugging Norco involves the drug being rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through the rectal tissues. It then interacts with opioid receptors in the central nervous system, providing pain relief, relief from anxiety, and feelings of euphoria (especially at higher doses).
These effects likely kick in much faster when compared to oral administration, potentially leading to an intense drug high with increased side effects that can include:
- impaired thinking and coordination
- mood swings
- nausea and vomiting
- sedation, including slowed breathing and heart rate
- changes in blood pressure
Dangers Of Plugging Norco
As with other forms of prescription substance abuse, plugging greatly increases a person’s risk of overdose.
And, when a drug is not formulated for rectal administration, plugging may cause significant damage to delicate rectal tissues and lead to:
- rectal irritation and or infection
- tearing and other rectal tissue injury
- severe constipation or persistent diarrhea
- increased susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections
- blood flow problems
- long-term brain and memory dysfunction
- increased risk of physical dependence and hydrocodone addiction
Both hydrocodone and acetaminophen are dangerous in cases of overdose, especially when taken with other substances like alcohol, benzodiazepines and other prescription drugs, or illicit substances.
Symptoms of Norco overdose generally relate to the drug’s effects as a potent central nervous system depressant, and may include:
- blue-tinted fingernails and lips
- gasping, slow or shallow breathing, or respiratory failure
- cold clammy skin
- constricted, pinpoint pupils
- severe drowsiness
- confusion and difficulty moving
- loss of consciousness or coma
- muscle twitching
- nausea and vomiting
- weak or slow heart rate
Symptoms of acetaminophen overdose, on the other hand, correspond with the drug’s toxic effects on the liver. The following symptoms may appear up to twelve hours after the overdose occurs:
- abdominal pain
- physical weakness
- loss of appetite
- jaundice (yellowing skin and eyes)
- nausea and vomiting
If you suspect someone is experiencing an opioid overdose, immediately call 911, administer Narcan (naloxone) if available, and provide first aid until medical responders arrive and take over.
Risks Of Hydrocodone Abuse
Any use of hydrocodone combination products not in line with a proper medical prescription is considered hydrocodone abuse.
This also includes alternate methods of administration like:
- insufflation (snorting Norco), which can cause nosebleeds and damage or kill tissue in the nasal passages, septum, and roof of the mouth
- injecting Norco, which can harm and infect the heart, blood vessels, and skin tissue
- smoking Norco, which can severely damage the respiratory system and reduce lung function
- parachuting, which involves swallowing crushed medications in toilet paper to increase the drug’s absorption rate
Each of these methods of abuse also involves unique forms of drug paraphernalia and increases one’s risk of overdose and eventual drug addiction.
Norco Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one live with opioid addiction in Ohio, we can help.
At Ohio Recovery Center, we offer evidence-based, personalized treatment programs for prescription drug abuse and addiction that includes:
- medical detox to help manage uncomfortable hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms
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For more information on our inpatient treatment options, please contact us today.
- Frontiers in Pharmacology — Physiological and Pharmaceutical Considerations for Rectal Drug Formulations https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6805701/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Prescription Opioids DrugFacts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone and acetaminophen overdose: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002670.htm#:~:text=Hydrocodone%20is%20a%20painkiller%20in,recommended%20amount%20of%20this%20medicine.
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone Combination Products https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601006.html