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While film scenes where an actor injects something into his/her arm can perhaps be faked with edits and maybe prosthetics, how do actors manage to snort cocaine or smoke crack? Are there approved safe alternatives that are used?

From Tumblr

Also, considering the lifestyles of many actors, are there any instances where actors have used the real deal?

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Is a human doing the inhaling in the clip above? –  Andrew Grimm Nov 19 '13 at 9:44
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It depends on the actor. I'm sure there are a few who bring their own cocaine. –  Mathew Foscarini Nov 21 '13 at 19:07
    
As to your subquestion, in the movie Grandma's Boy, Dante smoked real marijuana (according to Nick Swardson's Comedy special Seriously, Who Farted?), not realizing that movies often require multiple takes. And in Easy Rider they also smoked real pot and (if the stories are true), did real LSD. It's not unheard of. –  Meat Trademark Jun 28 at 2:19

1 Answer 1

up vote 29 down vote accepted

Because of powdered milk's resemblance to cocaine and other drugs, powdered milk is sometimes used in film-making as a non-toxic prop that may be inhaled.

Other methods listed on nypost.com are -

  • “It’s usually cornstarch, but you have to put a bit of baby powder into it, because starch is too sticky and heavy,” says Gillian Albinski, the property master on Homeland.

  • “I always use powdered lactose,” says longtime prop master Mychael Bates, who worked on 2011’s Horrible Bosses.

  • Colin Farrell didn’t seem to mind. He was even snorting the powder off-camera in order to stay in character, Bates says.

  • For the lactose-intolerant, something like a vitamin B powder (inositol), available at health-food stores, might be substituted.

Snorting any powder over multiple takes can cause an actor to become congested. (Or just angry.) In that case, the prop masters will sometimes coat the inside of the coke straw with Vaseline. When the powder is snorted, most of it sticks to the straw instead of going up the actor’s nose.

For pot/crack:

Besides heroin, “Homeland” includes scenes of Morgan Saylor’s character Dana Brody smoking pot.

“I’ve worked on shows where actors have wanted to smoke the real thing, and I was constantly fighting to take away their real bags,” Albinski says. “Oregano smells so much like the real thing, you have to check carefully to make sure they haven’t switched it out.”

Other prop masters do use the real thing — sort of. Companies, including legalbuds.com, sell ganja without the active ingredient THC. It looks and burns like marijuana, but it won’t get anyone high.

Crack rocks are created by dropping globs of Krazy Glue into a pile of baking soda.

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The Vaseline trick is a good 'un. +1 Could you also address the "smoking crack" bit? –  coleopterist Nov 18 '13 at 7:14
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@coleopterist i also really like it, will use this trick in a film one-day ;P –  Ankit Sharma Nov 18 '13 at 7:16
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Unless you're Charlie Sheen, of course. –  Scorpion Nov 18 '13 at 9:08
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@coleopterist thank you :) –  Ankit Sharma Nov 27 '13 at 5:53

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