When one feels the need to stimulate oneself by snorting a line of cocaine, would one say the bracha of besamim (spices)?

Thank you in advance, this is not halacha l'maaseh.

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    Does coke have an aroma like besamim, or is it "medicinal" like an asthma inhaler is? Commented May 7, 2017 at 22:46
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's contra halacha to do drugs like cocaine Commented May 8, 2017 at 1:38
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    You say "stimulate yourself." I am as unfamiliar with cocaine as @MonicaCellio is, but I wonder if it would have the same rules as snuff.
    – MTL
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 2:26
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    @NoachMiFrankfurt Why is a question off topic if it involves something against halakha? I am pretty sure you just made that up. Asking about the halakhic ramification of a forbidden act falls squarely into the realm of questions about Judaism, IMHO.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 2:36
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    I don't understand why it should be off-topic because it's against Halacha. The question is simply whether a bracha is made on cocaine. Whether Halacha permits drugs could very well be a part of an answer (mitzvah haba'ah me'aveirah), but that doesn't affect the question itself. How many questions do we have on here about "a guy violated Halacha - what now?"
    – DonielF
    Commented May 8, 2017 at 4:04

2 Answers 2


Cocaine is a Schedule II substance, which means that a) it has a high potential for abuse, b) it has some accepted medicinal use for treatment, and c) abuse of the substance can lead to severe psychological or physiological dependence.

It was used as a topical anesthetic and some ENTs used to use it as a means to clear a patient's sinuses when administered in a diluted, liquid form. There's some debate as to whether flavored medications require a birchas henehenin which is dependent in part on whether the medication is deemed "objectively" good tasting or only flavored as a means to make taking the medication easier. Cocaine has a bitter taste and is not typically taken orally by itself.

The OP's query concerns nasal ingestion of the powdered form of cocaine; this is not the same as smelling. Additionally, cocaine is described as having a chemical smell which is not typically described as a pleasing scent. Moreover, the numbing effect of the cocaine disables one's ability to smell at all for the duration of the use.


Since cocaine is harmful, it would not receive any bracha (cf. Shulchan Aruch §202:4).

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    Maybe we could say 1: inhaling a substance through the nose as a drug (no smell of fragrances involved) is not a form of halachic eating so it has no brachah. 2: It is very very harmful. So we do not say a blessing on something that detroys one's life. However, harmful alone would not absolve it of a Brachah as long as one got some benefit. Straight pure olive oil and raw barley flour have harmful effect but still require a blessing. see Gem' Brachos 36. Commented May 8, 2017 at 0:02

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