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?

  • 5
    Is a human doing the inhaling in the clip above?
    – Golden Cuy
    Nov 19, 2013 at 9:44
  • 11
    It depends on the actor. I'm sure there are a few who bring their own cocaine.
    – Reactgular
    Nov 21, 2013 at 19:07
  • 3
    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. Jun 28, 2014 at 2:19
  • They used the real deal in Easy Rider. (It's discussed in dvd audio commentary track).
    – MmM
    Jan 18, 2016 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


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.

  • 13
    The Vaseline trick is a good 'un. +1 Could you also address the "smoking crack" bit? Nov 18, 2013 at 7:14
  • 10
    Unless you're Charlie Sheen, of course.
    – BrownEyes
    Nov 18, 2013 at 9:08
  • 1
    "“I’ve worked on shows where actors have wanted to smoke the real thing" legal way to go high :) lol
    – Elltz
    Oct 17, 2015 at 20:03
  • 1
    I might be missing a joke here, but oregano doesn't smell like Marijuana.
    – Hellreaver
    Apr 6, 2016 at 2:48
  • Also, while sure in California and many other states you can get marijuana legally and smoke it, with film schedules generally pretty tight, I wouldn't think directors and such would want to have their actors be high for hours after a scene is shot (and what if you need to do multiple takes, etc).
    – BruceWayne
    Mar 7, 2017 at 4:44

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