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Can You Snort Tramadol? Risks & Effects of Snorting Tramadol

Tramadol is a prescription opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain. Tramadol is misused when a person uses it in amounts or a frequency above the prescribed dose. Abuse can also include administering the prescription drug in a way that is not intended, such as snorting Tramadol. Many people will crush and snort Tramadol to get high. Snorting tramadol is dangerous, potentially deadly, and probably won’t get you any higher than it would from swallowing it. Instead, crushing and snorting Tramadol can increase your risk of addiction, overdose, and respiratory damage.

What Happens If You Snort Tramadol?

Tramadol comes in the form of a tablet, a liquid solution, an extended-release tablet, and an extended-release capsule. The capsules, tablets, and liquid are all meant to be taken by mouth every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain. As an opioid medication, some people will abuse tramadol to get high. One way they will do this is by snorting the medication.

Can I snort Tramadol? The reason why people crush, and snort Tramadol is to obtain a faster and more intense high. This is because snorting medications allows them to reach the bloodstream faster than they would if a person were to swallow them. However, there is little evidence that snorting tramadol produces a more intense high than swallowing it does. What happens when you snort tramadol is the mucous membrane of the nasal passages absorbs the Tramadol faster, delivering it to the blood and the brain faster, and producing more instant effects.

Why Do People Snort Tramadol?

Snorting tramadol can actually be one of the signs of tramadol addiction. Tramadol does still carry risks for abuse or addiction. The medication is an opiate, so people who have struggled with addiction to intoxicating substances, including opioid drugs, are still at risk of becoming addicted to tramadol. Additionally, some individuals attempt to experience a tramadol “high” by bypassing the medication’s safety features. One of these methods involves crushing and snorting the pills in order to bypass the slower release through the digestive system and force the drug directly into the bloodstream.

Can Snorting Tramadol Cause an Overdose?

Overdose deaths from opioids like tramadol were responsible for claiming more than 14,000 American lives in 2019. Although tramadol is a relatively weak opioid as compared to other agents like oxycodone, it nonetheless can be dangerous, especially if you take too much. Because of this, it is crucial to take tramadol only as instructed by your doctor and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of overdose.

Snorting tramadol increases the intensity of the effects, thereby increasing the risk of overdose. Snorting prescription opioids has been found to be a risk factor contributing to non-fatal overdose. People with a history of snorting opioids were 3 times more likely to overdose. This occurs because when the body is flooded with the substance, it becomes overwhelmed by the level of tramadol. This risk is much lower when the substance is used as directed, as serum concentrations of the drug rise in a much more controlled manner.

Signs of tramadol overdose include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Profound, global muscle weakness
  • Cyanotic skin, cold to the touch
  • Labored, slowed, or altogether stopped breathing
  • Marked drowsiness
  • Dangerously slowed heart rate
  • Unrousable loss of consciousness
  • Coma

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Tramadol Addiction Statistics

Tramadol has played a significant role in the U.S. opioid crisis. In 2012, it outranked oxycodone to become the #2 most commonly prescribed opioid in the U.S. There’s also a debate about whether the drug is actually a narcotic. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classified it under Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which is the category of drugs considered to have a “low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.”


1.6 million Americans

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports 1.6 million people over the age of 12 misused tramadol products in 2016.

Source: NSDUH

41 million

In 2017, 41 million tramadol prescriptions were dispensed.

Source: NSDUH

186%

Between 2000 and 2012, global tramadol consumption increased by 186%.

Source: NSDUH


Tramadol Drug Fact Sheet

Why is this medication prescribed?

Tramadol is used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. Tramadol extended-release tablets and capsules are only used by people who are expected to need medication to relieve pain around-the-clock. Tramadol is in a class of medications called opiate (narcotic) analgesics. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.


How should this medicine be used?

Tramadol comes as a tablet, a solution (liquid), an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and an extended-release (long-acting) capsule to take by mouth.

The regular tablet and solution are taken usually with or without food every 4 to 6 hours as needed. The extended-release tablet and extended-release capsule should be taken once a day. Take the extended-release tablet and the extended-release capsule at about the same time of day every day.

If you are taking the extended-release capsule, you may take it with or without food. If you are taking the extended-release tablet, you should either always take it with food or always take it without food. Take tramadol exactly as directed.

Do not take more medication as a single dose or take more doses per day than prescribed by your doctor. Taking more tramadol than prescribed by your doctor or in a way that is not recommended may cause serious side effects or death.

Pharmacokinetic Data

Bioavailability 70–75% (by mouth), 77% (rectal), 100% (IM)

Metabolism: Liver-mediated demethylation and glucuronidation via CYP2D6 & CYP3A4[8][9]

Metabolites: O-desmethyltramadol, N-desmethyltramadol


Onset of action: Less than 1 hour (by mouth)
Elimination half-life 6.3 ± 1.4 h

Duration of action: 6 hours

Excretion: Urine (95%)


Chemical and Physical Data

Formula C16H25NO2

Molar mass 263.381 g·mol−1

Melting point 180 to 181 °C (356 to 358 °F)


Warnings

Seizures have been reported in patients taking tramadol. Your risk of seizures is higher if you are taking higher doses than recommended. Seizure risk is also higher in those with a seizure disorder or those taking certain antidepressants or opioid medications.

Signs of Tramadol Addiction

Knowing that a loved one is addicted to tramadol can be challenging to identify, especially if they have been prescribed the medication at some point. A primary indicator of tramadol addiction is reflected in the compulsive drug seeking and using behavior that happens regardless of the negative outcomes. Individuals addicted to tramadol will:

  • Have increased problems focusing on other life priorities like work or school.
  • Shift their social networks towards different friends or have more conflict with loved ones.
  • Encounter increased legal or financial stress.
  • Make multiple attempts to quit or reduce use unsuccessfully.
  • Experience unpredictable changes in mood.

Someone snorting tramadol may leave clues to their use, including:

  • The appearance of white powder on their face, hands, or clothes.
  • The presence of tools used to crush and snort the substance.
  • Behavioral changes like frequent sniffing or rubbing of the nose.
Snorting Tramadol, or any kind of powder is a bad idea and can cause damage to nasal tissues. 
Can You Snort Tramadol? Snorting Tramadol, or any kind of powder is a bad idea and can cause damage to nasal tissues. 
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Effects of Snorting Tramadol

Snorting tramadol can be bad for you. Concentrated levels of this drug in your system increase your chances of side effects. There is no control left to release the medicine slowly to the brain. In effect, when you snort tramadol, you take away the drug’s ability to filter through metabolic processes and you are getting all of the drug at once. Not to mention the damage you can do to your sinuses and nose. Tramadol is also unique in that there are many side effects reported to the use of tramadol. Like smoking tramadol side effects, negative and adverse side effects of snorting tramadol can include:

  • Agitation
  • Chills
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Damage to the nasal membranes
  • Congestion or constant runny nose
  • Higher risk of lung infections
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Itching
  • Nervousness
  • Vomiting
  • Damage to the throat, esophagus, and lungs

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Dangers of Snorting Tramadol

Can you snort tramadol? No, you cannot. While there are many dangerous ways to take tramadol, the medication should only be taken as prescribed and directed by a doctor. Snorting tramadol HCL is a form of drug abuse because it can intensify the drug’s impact on the user’s body and increase the risk of addiction. Unfortunately, people snort tramadol because they want to experience a more intense high or side effects.

Risk of Seizure

The possibility of suffering a seizure is also increased when a person snorts tramadol. There is a potential for seizures to occur even when tramadol is taken in recommended doses but are more likely to happen if a person abuses the drug or has an overdose.

Risk of Breathing Difficulties

Snorting tramadol can cause a person to lose consciousness due to the excessive amounts of the drug entering the body and bloodstream abruptly. Repeatedly Snorting tramadol can also impair the nose’s filtering capacity and cause small amounts of tramadol powder to enter the lungs. If this occurs, it can result in additional breathing problems.

Can You Snort Tramadol? Snorting tramadol is dangerous, but substance abuse treatment can help you reclaim a sober, healthy life.
Can you snort Tramadol? Snorting tramadol is dangerous, but substance abuse treatment can help you reclaim a sober, healthy life.

Respiratory Damage

The first and perhaps most obvious danger of snorting tramadol is damage to the respiratory system. When you snort a drug, this can cause irritation and inflammation in the delicate tissues of your respiratory system. In addition, crushing the tramadol tablet into a powder and snorting it can also increase the risk of respiratory infection.

Drug Addiction

Snorting high amounts of tramadol also increases the risk of developing a drug addiction. Tramadol is a powerful opioid narcotic, and like all opioids, it is highly addictive. When you snort the drug, your tolerance for it will increase quickly, and you will need to take more and more of the drug to get the same effect. This can lead to disastrous consequences, including overdose.

Overdose

Tramadol overdose is a very real danger, especially if you are snorting the drug. In many cases, snorting drugs is often done in combination with drinking alcohol or taking other drugs. This can increase the risk of overdose and lead to serious consequences including coma and death.

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Effects of Mixing Tramadol and Alcohol

Tramadol and alcohol can be dangerous when used in combination because both substances depress the central nervous system. Combining them could intensify the sedative and respiratory depressing effects of both, which could lead to unconsciousness, coma, respiratory arrest, overdose, or death.

When opioids are combined with alcohol and other central nervous system depressants, it can lead to life-threatening respiratory depression causing severe oxygen deprivation and long-term brain damage. This can quickly result in coma or become fatal.

Taking too much tramadol can also produce an overdose when combined with other substances such as alcohol and requires immediate medical attention. Warning signs of a potentially fatal tramadol overdose include:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Cold, sweaty skin
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Trouble breathing
Can You Snort Tramadol?  Snorting tramadol is one of the many ways recreational drug users take it to get high.
Can you snort Tramadol? Snorting tramadol is one of the many ways recreational drug users take it to get high.

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Tramadol Abuse and Addiction Treatment 

Even if a user is experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms, it can still be beneficial to attend a professional detox center, outpatient treatment program, or inpatient rehabilitation facility. He or she can be monitored for any medical complications and lower the risk of relapse.

Detox Treatment

The first step in treatment is detoxification. It will help you navigate the complicated withdrawal process, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to Tramadol abuse. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

Psychotherapy

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
Can you snort Tramadol?  A common method for misusing prescription drugs is to crush and snort them.
Can you snort Tramadol? Snorting tramadol can actually be one of the signs of tramadol addiction.

Dual Diagnosis

 Substance abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis programs in New Jersey treat both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Now that we’ve answered the question, “Can you snort Tramadol?” It is important to always be reminded that Tramadol has the tendency of becoming a habit-forming drug. If you need help with a Tramadol addiction, seek help from trained professionals. Contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up rehab center in New Jersey can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

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