Dangers of Snorting Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is a type of opioid. Similar to morphine and codeine, it is used to treat severe pain. However, it is different from these drugs as it is semi-synthetic. While morphine occurs naturally and is obtained from the poppy plant, synthetic opioids are man-made.

Hydrocodone is often referred to under the brand names Lortab, Norco, and Vicodin. Hydrocodone is chemically similar to oxycodone as they are both semi-synthetic opioids.

Medical professionals will generally not prescribe hydrocodone for a long period due to the increase in hydrocodone abuse. Like all opioids, hydrocodone is highly addictive.

A person who abuses hydrocodone may opt to snort the drug. However, snorting drugs come with adverse consequences. If you are struggling with a hydrocodone addiction, treatment is available.

Why Is Hydrocodone Used?

Hydrocodone, like other opioids, is prescribed in the case of severe bodily injury pain or dental pain. It also works to relieve patients with moderate to severe cough. While it is very effective in managing pain, if misused it is potentially dangerous.

How It Works

Opioid receptors are found within nerve cells and are responsible for a person feeling pain. Opioids work by attaching to opioid receptors throughout the body and creating a chemical change. When a person ingests opioid drugs like hydrocodone, they will experience pain relief and euphoric feelings of well-being. This experience will be felt throughout the body and in the mind.

Opioids also work as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Central nervous system depressants relax the central nervous system, meaning a person will experience a sedative effect. This can also provide relief from a cough.

Taking hydrocodone is a short-term solution due to the dangers associated with taking it long-term. As this drug is an opioid, it is highly addictive. If a person is snorting hydrocodone or other prescription drugs, it is likely they are suffering from a substance use disorder (SUD).

Addiction to Hydrocodone

Addiction can happen to anyone. It can happen to a person of any race, age, or gender. Addiction develops over time and people get stuck in an addictive cycle.

Like any addiction, hydrocodone abuse begins with initial use. Addiction to opioids often occurs from an initial prescription for pain. Similarly, it can happen if someone is using illicit drugs recreationally and progress to using opioids.

After initial use, a person may begin to abuse hydrocodone. Drug abuse refers to any misuse of a substance. In the case of prescription drug abuse, this can look like someone using the drug for longer than recommended, for a purpose other than what it’s prescribed for, or in higher doses than prescribed. Snorting hydrocodone is a form of substance abuse.

When a person has been abusing hydrocodone for some time, they will eventually build up a tolerance. As the body gets used to the dosage a person regularly takes, they will start to need higher doses to obtain the rewarding effects.

Developing a tolerance can cause a person to further abuse a substance and with prolonged substance abuse, they will develop a dependence on the drug. Drug dependence is dangerous as it traps people in the cycle of addiction.

How to Prevent A Hydrocodone Addiction

If you have been prescribed an opioid for chronic pain, you must monitor your response to the drugs. If you feel that you could be developing a tolerance or dependency, or you worry that your usage has become problematic, inform your doctor immediately.

To prevent further opioid deaths in the US, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has launched a program called prescription drug take-back day. This program provides people with a method of safely disposing of unwanted prescription drugs.

In many cases, drug abuse is the result of underlying mental health issues. Seeking mental health treatment early on can prevent self-medication and stop addiction before it’s begun.

Can You Snort Hydrocodone?

A person who is struggling with hydrocodone addiction may opt to snort the drug. Snorting hydrocodone, or any drug, works faster than oral medication. Snorting refers to putting the drug in the nasal passage and inhaling it. Although this doesn’t affect the digestive system as much as oral administration, it can cause severe damage to blood vessels.

Snorting drugs reach the brain faster due to the many nerves in the nasal passage. The drugs enter the bloodstream and produce an almost immediate release. The effects of snorting the drug are felt in the body within a few minutes.

People snort hydrocodone by crushing hydrocodone pills to make an ingestible white powder. They may use drug paraphernalia to snort the powder, such as a straw.

If a person is taking hydrocodone in this way, they are most likely suffering from an opioid use disorder. Similarly, a person may also begin smoking hydrocodone because it works just as fast. In this case, a person should look into treatment programs for addiction.

What Happens if You Snort Hydrocodone?

Taking hydrocodone in this way creates more unique physical issues than if the drug is abused orally. Snorting primarily affects the respiratory system and can even cause respiratory depression. Respiratory depression is a disorder that affects breathing. Snorting hydrocodone for a long time could cause a person to have trouble breathing effectively.

Furthermore, snorting hydrocodone can cause lung infections. Studies have found that snorting hydrocodone can even cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (also called extrinsic allergic alveolitis) is a disorder of the immune system. This is characterized by an inflammation of the lungs and it can be life-threatening.

As well as the damage it causes to the lower respiratory system, the upper respiratory system is also affected. The upper respiratory system is comprised of the nose, mouth, throat, and voice box. A person snorting hydrocodone products may experience a sore throat. They may also experience nose bleeds due to damaged blood vessels in the nose.

Snorting hydrocodone causes damage to the delicate mucous membranes in the nose and can damage the nasal tissue. Furthermore, if a person snorts hydrocodone regularly, they can visibly damage the nasal cavity. It is recommended that if a person is snorting hydrocodone, they should use nasal spray afterward to prevent further damage to the nasal tissue.

Other Dangers of Snorting Hydrocodone

If a person can no longer obtain the drug from their usual doctor, they may start ‘doctor shopping’. Doctor shopping is a term given to the act of going to different doctors to obtain more prescription opioids.

If this doesn’t work, a person who is addicted to opioids may seek to purchase the medication illegally. In recent years, there have been many cases of impure drugs being sold.

A person may believe they are obtaining prescription opioids like hydrocodone or oxycontin, but it could be mixed with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. It is chemically similar to hydrocodone but is considered a much more potent drug. If a person accidentally snorts hydrocodone that is mixed with fentanyl, the consequences can be lethal.

Withdrawal Symptoms from Snorting Hydrocodone

If a person has become dependent on hydrocodone, sudden cessation of the drug will cause difficult withdrawal symptoms. Hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms can be unbearable and frequently cause people to relapse.

Someone who is snorting hydrocodone is likely taking a high dose of hydrocodone. The more hydrocodone a person takes and the longer they are snorting hydrocodone, the more severe the withdrawal will be.

Quitting prescription opioids like hydrocodone cold turkey is very difficult, especially in cases of prolonged use. Common hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle pain
  • Runny nose
  • Watering eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased heart rate

Withdrawal is a dangerous period in the substance abuse cycle as a person may take other drugs to minimize the symptoms. For example, if a person is addicted to hydrocodone and cannot obtain it legally, they may take illicit opioids such as heroin.

To avoid relapsing during withdrawal, addiction treatment programs can help. A treatment program can help a person medically detox from the drugs.

Can Snorting Painkillers Cause an Overdose?

Yes, cases of hydrocodone snorting leading to overdose do occur. This is one of the main dangers of snorting hydrocodone and why addiction treatment is so important.

In recent years, opioid overdose deaths have skyrocketed in the U.S. Opioid overdoses can be fatal and they require emergency addiction treatment.

An overdose occurs when a person ingests more of a substance than the body is capable of processing. Intranasal hydrocodone acetaminophen abuse can cause a person to take more of the substance than usual. Symptoms of a hydrocodone overdose include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Blue-ish skin, lips, and fingernails
  • Slowed breathing
  • Small pupils
  • Non-responsiveness
  • Weak heartbeat

A drug overdose is a medical emergency and due to impaired breathing, the person may not be getting adequate oxygen. If you think you or someone you love have taken a hydrocodone overdose, contact the emergency services.

How to Get Help to Stop Snorting Hydrocodone

There are many different types of hydrocodone addiction treatment. In the case of severe and prolonged opioid addiction, a person may require a drug detox. Medication-assisted treatment such as this is particularly useful in minimizing overwhelming withdrawal symptoms.

Everyone’s recovery journey is different and unique to them. Drug addiction can be caused by a wide range of issues and getting to the root of the opioid abuse can help a person heal.

In many cases, underlying mental health issues can form the basis for drug use. For this reason, behavioral therapy is an effective method.

Support groups are a type of outpatient treatment. Many people who have successfully overcome an opioid addiction found these groups significant in maintaining long-term recovery.

NP Addiction Clinic

The first step is recognizing that your hydrocodone use has become problematic. If you are struggling with an addiction to hydrocodone snorting, the NP Addiction clinic can help.

At the NP Addiction clinic, we offer a range of addiction treatment programs. We have a team of dedicated and expertly trained staff who will find a suitable treatment process for you.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life

To find out more contact our team


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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine