signs that someone is snorting drugs

Signs That Someone Is Snorting Drugs

If you’re worried a loved one may be engaging in drug use, specifically by snorting, you’re not alone. Snorting drugs is common when engaging in drug use, especially when addicted. Being able to know the symptoms and signs can be crucial in getting the individual the help they need to live a life free of addiction.

A commonly snorted drug is cocaine, but many different drugs can be snorted. Knowing which drugs are snorted, the physical and behavioral signs of snorting, the dangers of snorting, and how to get help is a great start when dealing with possible drug addiction.  

Behavioral Signs of Snorting Drugs

While there are physical signs of snorting drugs (see below), differences in behavior can be just as telling. The most common to look out for is frequent trips to a room alone, usually a bathroom, and for an abnormal amount of time. If in the bathroom, you can also be aware if they leave the water running for a long time to hide the noise of them snorting.

Most telling is their state of behavior before and after their frequent trips. Although varying on the type of drug snorted, the individual will most likely either be very excited and talkative (the work of a stimulant) or appear lethargic and relaxed (a depressant).

Of course, there are other general behavioral signs to look out for in drug use. These can include an individual not meeting everyday responsibilities at work or home, withdrawing from their community, obvious physical issues, and money issues, among others.

Physical Signs of Snorting Drugs 

If you’re extremely worried a loved one is snorting drugs, there are physical symptoms that can be hard to miss. Due to snorting being ingesting drugs through the nose, the affected area is difficult to hide.

Common signs of drug snorting include:

  • Frequent snorting or sniffing
  • Constantly stuffy or runny nose
  • Abnormally colored nasal discharge
  • Common nose bleeds
  • Ongoing sinus infections
  • Loss of smell

Over time, snorting drugs can also damage the nose, injuring the tissues such as the septum and the nasal bridge. If not treated, the damage can be so severe that your nasal bridge may collapse or lead to a perforated septum, which requires surgery to repair.

Why Do People Start Snorting Drugs 

It’s uncommon for drug users to begin using by snorting drugs. More typically, they start using recreationally and ingest through oral methods. Unfortunately, due to how the brain works, the more a person consumes a drug, the more they need it to feel its desired effects, often leading to drug addiction.

When a person’s tolerance to their drug of choice builds, they usually start to look at different options to feel more of its effects. This is when snorting drugs usually begins. Snorting a little bit can be the same as eating a lot of the drug, which is appealing to many users. Additionally, the effects present much quicker – sometimes as soon as two minutes as opposed to thirty when taken orally. The high doesn’t last as long as it would if ingested by the mouth, but snorting is still commonly preferred as the high is more noticeable and immediately felt.

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How Does Snorting Work and What Drugs Do People Snort 

When a person snorts a drug, the mucous membranes in the nose cause the drug to be absorbed rapidly, reducing the amount of time the drug is diluted – causing more of the drug to make its way into the bloodstream. Usually, this is done by a drug being in powder form and separated into what is referred to as “lines” on a hard surface. The user then snorts the drug into one of their nostrils. After ingestion, the small blood vessels and capillaries in the nasal cavity move the drug into the rest of the body very quickly.

The most commonly known drug to snort is cocaine, but there are several drugs, both illegal and legal, that people misuse by snorting. A good way to know is that if a drug can be eaten, it can usually be snorted, as it is just ground into a fine powder.

The most commonly snorted drugs include:

Dangers of Snorting Drugs 

When a person begins snorting drugs, their tolerance rises even further. This means that they may have to snort to feel any effect at all, which can lead to addiction and overdose.

There are also other severe health dangers of snorting drugs. These can include:

  • Damage to the respiratory system can lead to loss of smell.
  • Increased risk of blood-borne infections such as HIV or Hepatitis C.
  • Increased heart rates.
  • The effects of the drugs themselves, such as heart failure, seizures, and even death.

If you are concerned a loved one is snorting drugs, a larger worry may be that they are addicted. A good rule of thumb is that if drug use is negatively affecting their life consistently, even if it’s not at rock bottom, they may have an addiction that needs treatment. SAMHSA reports that only 10 percent of those struggling with substance abuse receive treatment – don’t let that be your loved one.

Getting Treatment 

Snorting drugs is dangerous and is a common sign of drug addiction. However, help is available. If you have questions or are ready to start your recovery journey, we’re here to help. Contact our skilled addiction and mental health professionals at Emerge Healing Center to learn more about our treatment and program options.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, addiction, or co-occurring disorders then we are here for you. Please give us a call today so you can begin the journey of a lifetime.