The Dangers of Opioids: Smoking, Snorting, & Injecting

Opioids are powerful drugs sometimes prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. The illegal street drug, heroin, is also a potent opioid.1

Opioids are often misused in a variety of ways, with each method carrying the risk of overdose and its own specific dangers.1

Is It More Dangerous to Snort, Smoke, or Inject Opioids?

Certain methods of administrating opioids can increase the risk of dependence and addiction as well as the risk of a life-threatening overdose.3 These methods of misusing opioids include:3,4

  • Snorting: Using a powered form of the drug (such as heroin) or grinding up the pills (such as with prescription opioids) into a powder and inhaling it through your nose.
  • Smoking: Heating up the substance and smoking it or vaping it using a vape device.
  • Injecting: Mixing the powder (heroin or ground-up pill) into a solution and injecting it with a needle into your veins or muscles.

Dangers of Snorting Opioids

The dangers of snorting opioids can include:3,5-9

  • Nasal pain.
  • Irritation of the nose and throat.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Damage to the soft tissues inside the nose.
  • Holes in the nasal septum (the bit of tissue separating the nostrils), especially when opioids are used in conjunction with cocaine or when the opioids contain acetaminophen (e.g., Percocet).
  • Increased risk of fungal and bacterial infection or acquiring and spreading bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis C or HIV from sharing tools used to snort opioids.

Dangers of Smoking Opioids

The dangers of smoking opioids can include:10-13

  • Chronic cough.
  • Wheezing.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Impaired lung functioning.
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Inflammation and scarring inside the lungs, as well as thickening of the bronchial walls.
  • Emphysema.
  • Pneumonia (infection and inflammation in the lungs).

Dangers of Injecting Opioids

This is the most dangerous route of administration to the user. The risks of injecting opioids can include: 2,8,14,15

  • Acquiring HIV, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases.
  • Bacterial and fungal infections such as endocarditis (injection of the heart lining and valves), cellulitis (serious skin infection), osteomyelitis (bone infection), and sepsis.
  • Abscesses.
  • Track marks/scarring.
  • Collapsed veins.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
  • Liver and kidney disease.

Opioids Addiction Treatment Near Grand Prairie, TX

Seeking treatment for opioid addiction can help you to take back control of your health, improve your well-being, and start you on a journey to recovery.16 Depending on your specific needs, you may require different levels of care.

Greenhouse Treatment Center offers a full continuum of opioid addiction treatment care that includes:

  • Medical detox, which helps you safely and comfortably withdraw from opioids so you can become medically stable and enter a rehabilitation program.
  • Residential treatment, where you live on campus and receive round-the-clock monitoring and support. You will participate in treatments such as individual counseling, group therapy, and other therapeutic activities.
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP), which is an intensive form of outpatient treatment. You live at home but attend treatment onsite. This is a step-down from inpatient care and provides a high level of care and highly structured treatment, during which you’ll attend 3–7 days of therapy per week for 6–8 hours per day.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP), which is less intensive than a PHP but still offers a high level of support. You’ll live at home but attend treatment and therapy 3–7 days per week for a minimum of 3 hours per day.
  • Standard outpatient, which includes weekly counseling, drug education, and a connection to the sober community.
  • Sober living accommodations, which is a supportive residence where you’ll live and receive support from clinicians as well as others in recovery from substance use disorders as you reintegrate into your daily life.

If you’re ready to start moving along the path to recovery, call us today at to learn more about addiction recovery in Texas at Greenhouse Treatment Center. You can verify your insurance benefits right away using our online form.

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