Sleeping medications aren’t always recognized for their potential for abuse, both by those with and without legitimate prescriptions for the drugs. However, these substances are more frequently being abused for the purpose of achieving a high. In fact, in some cases, a sleep medication like Ambien, also known by its generic name zolpidem, is taken via insufflation through the nasal passageways, which increases the dangers of the drug.
How Common Is Prescription Drug Abuse?
It’s estimated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that in 2012 alone, 24.6 million Americans 12 and over have used illicit drugs in the past month, which is equivalent to 9.4 percent of the population. This statistic indicates a rise of over 1 percent since 2002. In addition, the number of individuals who abuse prescription medications has risen. A 2007 survey revealed 3.3 percent of Americans 12-17 years of age abused prescription drugs in the past month. A 2010 survey noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicated 2.4 million Americans abused prescription drugs in the past month. Statistics aren’t available regarding the number of individuals who abuse Ambien alone.
Why Do People Snort Ambien?
More and more people are taking Ambien via another method than intended by the manufacturer in order to achieve a quicker high. Not to mention, those who have snorted zolpidem report they feel like they’re in a conscious stupor. Some even state they hallucinate when taken it in higher dosages.
What Are the Dangers of Snorting It?
Snorting the drug not only causes a person to receive the drug more rapidly to the brain, but it also makes the effects of the drug more intense. It causes various effects not felt when taken orally. People experience severe sleepiness, agitation, nightmares, and delusions, and it impairs a person’s motor function. The drug may decrease the person’s heart rate and blood pressure to dangerously low levels. It can also cause respiratory depression.
Large quantities of the medication can cause grand mal seizures or lead to a loss of consciousness due to excessive sedation. When a person’s vital signs are affected too much, it can be deadly, in particular when a large quantity of the drug is snorted at one time. Cognitive impairment can occur. People have reported not remembering what happened while taking Ambien, both when taking it as intended and when abusing the substance. Zolpidem can lead to a person driving without remembering event. This can lead to a serious accident, injuries, or even death. Sleepwalking and partaking in other activities while asleep are possible as well. These reactions are even more severe when Ambien is taken with alcohol or another depressant.
A person is more likely to overdose when snorting the drug since greater quantities hit the brain more quickly, and snorting also increases the risk of becoming addicted to the drug.
The chemicals in Ambien irritate the nasal cavity. People who insufflate zolpidem will feel an intense burning in their nasal cavity. The chemicals will cause bleeding, irritation, and inflammation of the nasal lining. The repeated damage to the nasal cavities may be so severe that the person requires nasal repair surgery. Because the nasal lining works as part of the immune system, it also puts a person more at risk for developing respiratory infections.