Plugging Dilaudid: Rectal Hydromorphone Use

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on February 12, 2021

People who plug Dilaudid or abuse the prescription drug through other methods may quickly develop addiction and are at high risk for overdose, even after one use.

Plugging Dilaudid - Hydromorphone Rectal Use

Dilaudid (hydromorphone) is a powerful prescription opioid that is five times stronger than morphine. Similar to other pain relievers and opioids, Dilaudid causes sedation and a euphoric high.

People who abuse Dilaudid may take the drug orally, crush the tablets into a fine powder for snorting, mix the powder into a solution for intravenous drug abuse, or mix the powder with sterile water for rectal administration (plugging).

These methods of abuse increase the rate at which the drug enters the bloodstream and produces effects.

Rectal administration of Dilaudid is more common among people who have a substance use disorder, and those that have established addiction to other opiate medications.

Plugging drugs may lead to higher and dangerous levels of bioavailability and blood concentration levels of the drug in a short period of time.

Further, opioid prescription drugs, such as OxyContin, oxycodone, and Dilaudid are well-known for causing severe addiction in people who use them.

Opioid abuse through methods such as plugging increases the risk for addiction, dependency, overdose, and other adverse effects.

What Is Plugging Dilaudid?

Plugging Dilaudid is the process of administering the drug through the rectum into the small intestine for faster and stronger effects. Plugging the drug leads to an increased level of the drug’s bioavailability and greater absorption in the body.

People who administer the medication anally will crush the drug into a fine powder to mix with sterile water. The solution is then injected into the body with the use of a syringe.

This method of abuse has become increasingly popular for recreational abuse as a suppository. It is more dangerous than other methods of administration, as less of the drug is needed to produce strong effects.

Side Effects Of Plugging Dilaudid

Plugging Dilaudid may cause a range of severe side effects and health problems caused by improper anal administration and due to the drug itself.

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People who plug Dilaudid may use unsterile syringes and high doses of the medication.

Plugging Dilaudid may cause the following side effects:

  • rectal infections and irritation
  • constipation
  • exposure to disease via contaminated syringe
  • overdose
  • death

Dilaudid may cause a wide range of dangerous side effects when administered rectally. Side effects are similar to those of heroin, morphine, and fentanyl.

Short-term effects of Dilaudid abuse may include:

  • euphoria
  • relaxation
  • mood swings
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • mental impairment and loss of coordination
  • slow heartbeat
  • respiratory depression or failure
  • changes in blood pressure

Long-term abuse of Dilaudid may cause:

  • chemical dependency
  • drug tolerance
  • addiction
  • brain damage
  • coma
  • respiratory failure
  • overdose
  • death

Dilaudid Overdose

When a person takes high doses of this medication, it can lead to a fatal opioid overdose. Combining Dilaudid with other prescription medications, such as other opioids, benzodiazepines, or alcohol may quickly lead to death.

If someone shows the following symptoms and signs after taking Dilaudid, emergency medical assistance is required:

  • difficulty breathing
  • loss of consciousness
  • weakness and confusion
  • constricted pupils
  • confusion
  • cold, clammy skin
  • coma

Dilaudid Addiction & Withdrawal

Dilaudid substance use leads to a release of endorphins and increased dopamine in the body, which causes a euphoric high and numbs pain. After habitual use, the body becomes reliant on these effects in order to regulate itself.

Once a person has a physical dependence on the medication, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping the drug. Severe withdrawal symptoms may lead an individual to continue abusing the drug in order to avoid them.

Like other opioid painkillers, Dilaudid addiction and its associated withdrawal symptoms can be potentially dangerous if not supervised and treated by medical professionals.

Symptoms of Dilaudid withdrawal may include:

  • excessive sweating
  • flu-like symptoms
  • insomnia
  • diarrhea
  • muscle pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • depression

In severe cases of withdrawal, people may require intensive inpatient monitoring and medical support.

Those who want to stop taking Dilaudid after becoming addicted to the drug should consult with a qualified healthcare provider.

Dilaudid Addiction Treatment

People who have become addicted to Dilaudid should seek medical advice and treatment from qualified medical professionals in a rehab setting. Medical supervision and treatment will ensure an individual can safely detox and achieve recovery.

Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms may be severe. It is not recommended to stop drug use abruptly after chemical dependency is established, as a gradual tapering-down method may be required to safely detox from the drug.

Substance abuse treatment will provide necessary medical interventions, including medications such as naloxone or methadone, when appropriate and necessary.

Each case is evaluated on an individual basis and treatment options are tailored for the individual’s unique needs.

Without medical intervention and support, a person may remain at increased risk of overdose and adverse side effects.

If you or a loved one is addicted to Dilaudid, or if you have any questions about substance abuse treatment programs, please connect with our treatment center through our helpline today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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  • National Center for Biotechnology Information — Absolute bioavailability of hydromorphone after peroral and rectal administration in humans: saliva/plasma ratio and clinical effects
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information — Pharmacokinetics of hydromorphone after intravenous, peroral and rectal administration to human subjects
  • National Center for Biotechnology Information — Pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of hydromorphone: effect of various routes of administration
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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on February 12, 2021

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