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  • Dilaudid is a brand name prescription painkiller that contains hydromorphone. It comes in liquid and tablet forms, which are taken orally (swallowing). Dilaudid, like all other prescription drugs, should be taken properly.

    Dilaudid tablets can be crushed up and snorted. This is done to feel the stronger effects of the drug. However, snorting Dilaudid and other pain relievers is a form of substance abuse, and comes with many health risks.

    Reasons For Snorting Dilaudid

    Under normal drug use guidelines, Dilaudid offers relief from moderate to severe pain, including chronic pain. A person taking Dilaudid may feel the recommended dose is not enough, which can lead to trying different methods of drug abuse.

    Dilaudid is a single-ingredient opioid agonist drug. It’s relatively easy to crush and snort without ingesting dangerous amounts of other substances. Unlike Exalgo, which is an extended-release hydromorphone product, Dilaudid is an immediate-release prescription opioid. Its effects will be felt even faster when snorted.

    These factors cause Dilaudid to be an appealing target for drug abusers. Dilaudid abuse is common in the United States, and has been given street names such as “dillies” and “dust.”

    How Is Dilaudid Snorted?

    Dilaudid tablets must be crushed into powder to snort. Tablets do not need to be separated into its different ingredients because they only contain hydromorphone.

    Crushing tablets can be done with household products. The powder is then lined up and snorted through a straw. It is relatively easy to snort Dilaudid, which leads to its high abuse potential.

    Effects Of Snorting Dilaudid

    Dilaudid’s analgesic (pain relief) properties are heightened when snorted. The drug is taken directly into the bloodstream and binds to opioid receptors quickly, leading to faster pain relief, sedation, and euphoria.

    Side effects of Dilaudid may also increase. These side effects include:

    • headache
    • drowsiness
    • sweating
    • constipation

    Health Risks Of Snorting Dilaudid

    Dilaudid is not designed to be snorted. Repeated snorting may damage the nose and respiratory system, and may cause other health effects.

    Snorting opioid drugs may lead to holes in the septum, or the wall that divides the nostrils. This is known as nasal septum perforation. It can also lead to lung inflammation and heart problems.

    As a form of drug abuse, snorting Dilaudid may affect your health in other ways.

    Dependence & Addiction

    Hydromorphone is a Schedule II controlled substance according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It’s well-known for being potentially habit-forming or addictive.

    Hydromorphone may cause physical dependence, where the body becomes used to functioning with the drug in its system. Once this happens, a person will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when attempting to come off the drug.

    Addiction treatment programs may be needed to treat hydromorphone addiction.

    Drug Interactions

    Combining Dilaudid with other substances can result in drug interactions. These interactions can be dangerous to your health.

    Benzodiazepines and other depressants, such as alcohol, can be particularly dangerous. All of these substances affect the central nervous system. Combining them with opioids increases their potency, but also increases the risk of overdose.

    Hydromorphone Overdose

    Snorting usually involves high doses being inhaled at once, which puts the user at risk of overdose.

    Hydromorphone shares signs with many other types of opioid overdose, including:

    • respiratory depression (extremely slowed breathing)
    • hypotension (low blood pressure)
    • clammy skin
    • comatose state

    Opioid overdose requires immediate medical attention, which may include the use of naloxone. Get help right away if you see these signs.

    Treating Dilaudid Abuse & Addiction

    There are several methods for treating Dilaudid abuse and addiction.

    If the nose has become damaged through snorting, nasal sprays or salt water solutions can repair it. If the damage is serious, surgery may be required.

    A drug detox may also be necessary to make the withdrawal process less painful. After a successful detox, additional treatments may be required.

    Talk to your healthcare provider or contact us to learn more about our treatment options for substance use disorder.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Drug Enforcement Administration - HYDROMORPHONE (Trade name: Dilaudid®; Street Names: Dust, Juice, Smack, D, Footballs)
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Commonly Used Drugs Charts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    Food and Drug Administration - Dilaudid - FDA
    Food and Drug Administration - EXALGO (hydromorphone hydrochloride) extended-release tablets, CII
    Michigan Medicine - Repair of Nasal Septum Perforation | Michigan Medicine
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Hydromorphone

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on March 23, 2022
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