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What 'drugs' actors take in Hollywood films are actually made of

What 'drugs' actors take in Hollywood films are actually made of

Lots of movies show characters taking drugs, but what are the actors really using?

Films and TV shows regularly depict people taking drugs, but since the actors can't really take illegal substances on set they're usually presented with some safer and more legal options instead.

The drug-taking scenes are usually still just as convincing, though, with characters often depicted to be snorting what look like very real lines of coke, or swallowing pills that appear to result in a real intoxicated state.

Drugs are often depicted in films.
MART PRODUCTION/Pexels

Aside from the fact that most of these substances are illegal, though, it probably wouldn't be very productive to have multiple cast members running around set on actual drugs.

So filmmakers instead resort to movie magic, with productions like The Wolf of Wall Street and Cocaine Bear just a couple of examples of films where cast members - or creatures - ingested what look like drugs, but are actually entirely innocent.

Let's start with cocaine - one of the more common drugs seen in movies, and one which definitely shouldn't be handed out freely on set.

Instead of ingesting the actual powder, filmmakers have previously relied on powdered milk or baking soda to recreate cocaine, but more recently they've moved to a vitamin B powder.

The powder is made up of vitamin B, and has previously been used by actors such as Jonah Hill as a replacement for coke in movies.

Jonah Hill's character used a lot of cocaine in Wolf of Wall Street.
Paramount Pictures

Vitamin B gives people a 'slight energy lift', though Hill's experience with the powder has proved that it shouldn't be taken in large doses after he had to be taken to hospital because he used so much of it while filming The Wolf of Wall Street.

"It's vitamin powder but it doesn't matter because if you ingest that much matter into your lungs, you will get very sick," Hill said on talk show Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons in 2016.

"We were literally doing fake coke for, like, seven months, every day. I never had more vitamin D in my entire life; I could have lifted a car over my f****** head."

That would have been impressive, but isn't something worth going to hospital over.

This is the face of a bear that's had a lot of cocaine.
Universal Pictures

For movie characters who have developed a heroin addiction, filmmakers often try to be slightly more subtle by cutting away from the moment of injection if the user is using a syringe.

However, if they do choose to show the injection, actors typically use fake syringes which can be filled with fluid in post-production.

There is of course one drug, weed, which is legal now in a lot of places, but which might still be detrimental to the tight schedule of a film set.

To make it look like their characters are really enjoying some of the devil's lettuce, filmmakers can use synthetic buds or herbal cigarettes which contain ingredients like rose petals, clover and tea leaves.

So there you have it - next time you see some drug use in a film, you can sit smug in the knowledge that you know exactly what the actors are up to.

If you want friendly, confidential advice about drugs, you can talk to FRANK. You can call 0300 123 6600, text 82111 or contact through their website 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, or livechat from 2pm-6pm any day of the week.

Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Topics: Drugs, Film and TV, Celebrity