Snorting drugs into the nose (nasal insufflation) is a common way of inhaling a substance into the body. Snorting causes a much faster onset of effect than ingestion (swallowing) as it is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream via the soft tissue in the nasal cavity.

Snorting of tobacco (snuff) dates back to the 15th Century. Snuff tobacco is ground up to a powder so it can be absorbed through the nasal membranes when snorted. Other drugs can be snorted in the same way, the best known of these is cocaine, but amphetamines and heroin can also be used in this way.

Safer Administration

  • Always use clean devices (snorter)
  • Use your own device
  • Don’t share devices; there may be traces of blood on your equipment.
  • Snort high up the nostril to avoid the most sensitive soft tissue.
  • Clean out nasal passages after use, with damp tissue or an ear bud.
  • Alternate nostrils to lessen damage to one side
  • If your nose is bleeding – give it a rest.

How Are The Drugs Prepared?

This following information refers specifically to amphetamine and cocaine: the drug must first be made into a fine powder. This is usually done by chopping the crystalline drug using a razor blade or credit card on a hard reflective surface such as a mirror or credit card. The powdered drug will then be drawn into lines using the razor blade/credit card prior to snorting. It may take between five and fifteen minutes before the drug is absorbed and the effects are felt.

How Is The Drug Absorbed?

Inside the nose the fine powder is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nasal membranes. If you have ever had a nosebleed, you will know how delicate these are and how close to the surface blood is.

As a natural defence against foreign bodies entering the nasal passages, the production of mucous will be boosted to protect these fine membranes in the nose thus making repeated administration by this method less effective.

The Risks Of Snorting Drugs

Risks of snorting drugs include sinus infections, and risk of contracting viruses like covid-19 or blood borne viruses like hepatitis due to sharing snorting paraphernalia like bank notes or straws. Long term snorting can cause serious damage to the cartilage and bone inside the nose, which can require plastic surgery.

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