Snorting Ativan (lorazepam) is not only dangerous, but it can cause permanent damage to nasal passages and the brain. The prescription anxiety medication comes in tablet form, which can be crushed and snorted so that the person snorting it can feel its effects faster and with more intensity. When it is inhaled, Ativan can become more addictive and possibly cause fatal effects.

What Is Ativan?

Ativan is the brand name for lorazepam. It is classified as a Schedule IV substance, which means it can only be prescribed by a medical professional. Ativan is a benzodiazepine, which is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States. Benzodiazepines are prescribed to treat different symptoms of an overactive nervous system, but they are mostly prescribed to ease sleep and anxiety ailments.

Ativan is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that falls under the drug classification of benzodiazepine. It enhances the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain called GABA. Ativan binds to certain receptors in the CNS and increases the efficacy of GABA, thus, producing anxiolytic feelings like muscle relaxation and sedation. It works to calm the CNS down. Benzodiazepines are one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Ativan is not supposed to be used long-term, but only as needed. It is usually not prescribed for longer than four weeks because using it for a longer time can lead to becoming dependent on it. Chemical dependence on Ativan may lead you to crush and insufflate the drug so that you can feel its effects quicker and more intensely. Individuals who misuse opioids may also misuse Ativan in the crushed form to “enhance their high.”

However, snorting Ativan is dangerous and harmful to your body and nasal passages.

Is Snorting Ativan Dangerous?

snorting ativan

When Ativan is snorted, it reaches top blood concentrations faster than when it is consumed orally. When a drug is taken by mouth, it is processed through the digestive system. This is a rather slow process involving the body breaking down the drug for absorption. Snorting Ativan is a high-risk behavior that can lead to serious side effects, produce permanent damage to your nose and respiratory system, and potentially cause life-threatening results.

Nasal Damage

Snorting Ativan also risks permanent damage to your nasal passages. The delicate nasal tissue inside of the nose is highly vulnerable to infection.

Illicit Ativan pills may contain ingredients like cornstarch that can irritate the tissue inside the nostrils. When this occurs, it may lead to nasal and lung infection and possibly respiratory blockage.

People will crush the Ativan tablet into a fine powder and scrape it into thin lines to inhale. When Ativan is inhaled, it enters the bloodstream through the soft nose tissue. 

Other Dangers from Snorting Ativan

Ativan and other medications that come in tablet form are meant to be taken by mouth, so they are slowly absorbed into the bloodstream, creating a prolonged benefit.  Crushing and snorting any drug is more dangerous and may lead to addiction to the drug. Other dangers that stem from snorting Ativan:

  • Damage to the nasal passage(s)
  • Increased rapid heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Overdose and Death

Ativan is a benzodiazepine that slows down the body’s processes. When Ativan is taken in excess or abused, it can lead to an overdose. The body’s respiration slows significantly, and the brain and other vital organs are deprived of oxygen, which could result in death.

The first signs that an individual has taken too much Ativan include brain function impairment, loss of control of body movements, memory trouble, and uncontrolled eye movements. If they continue to consume Ativan, they may achieve full-blown overdose, which can cause:

  • Severely depressed or reduced breathing or no breathing at all
  • Stupor
  • Coma

Ativan overdose should be treated immediately by emergency personnel to prevent brain and nervous system damage.

Emergency personnel utilizes different medications and procedures to get the person breathing again, remove the toxins from the body, or use other medicines to revere the sedative effects of benzodiazepines, like Ativan. The worst-case scenario is death.

Why Do People Snort Ativan?

There are few obvious reasons why people snort Ativan.

  • To achieve a stronger high than if the pill was swallowed
  • To speed up the drug’s effects

Snorting Ativan also allows the medicine to enter the user’s system faster than normal, which can cause a quicker burnout and withdrawal period. Users who snort Ativan become tolerant of the drug quicker than those who consume it orally. Additionally, those who become tolerant may find they are chemically dependent on the drug and may soon be addicted to it.

Ativan is mostly prescribed to relax muscles and slow down the response of the nervous system. Some people might experience a sense of well-being or euphoria when they take Ativan, which could lead to wanting a higher dose of it.

If Ativan is not providing the same “high,” then some people may decide to crush the tablets for insufflation, which will enter the bloodstream quicker and the “high” feels sooner. There are others yet who will snort Ativan along with other drugs to feel a very intense high. This puts them at an increased risk of overdose. When Ativan is abused with other drugs, like opioids, overdose is a real possibility.

What Happens When You Snort Ativan?

Ativan, like other benzos, causes a person to feel relaxed or sedated by elevating the level of neurotransmitters called GABA. When the drug is inhaled, the sedation feeling is intensified. Also, it is vital to understand that snorting Ativan, or other benzos, can cause severely suppressed breathing—the main cause of overdose deaths. Permanent damage to the nasal passages and lungs is possible.

If you snort Ativan, your nose and nasal passages could be irritated and become inflamed. You could suffer from blocked nasal airways, have possible respiratory issues, and experience the side effects of misusing the medicine. These include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Nosebleeds
  • Stomach pain
  • Change in sex drive or ability to have sex
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Appetite change
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

Ativan Addiction and Help

Ativan Addiction and Help

Ativan changes the way GABA works in the brain to produce its anxiolytic effects in the central nervous system. Chemical dependency and addiction to Ativan are extremely tough to manage. If you want to stop misusing Ativan, you will need professional help from experienced and educated addiction specialists.

Withdrawal from Ativan could be fatal if not medically managed. Medical detox is a process that removes Ativan and all other toxins from the system. Once you are medically stable, you are ready for the next stage in treatment. Maryland House Detox has many years of experience in medically managed detoxification, a full complement of caring, attentive addiction professionals, and the commitment to ensure each person in their care receives the best care.

Once detox is complete, staff at the detox center will work with you to find the best inpatient or outpatient treatment program. These treatment modalities will focus on helping you find the main reason for your addiction, learning how to manage the stressful, anxiety-prone circumstances that arise in life, create and use new techniques to prevent relapse, find a job, create a household budget, and more.

You are not alone if you choose to stop snorting and abusing Ativan. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain, and it is treatable.

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