I'm not referring to drugs that harm the body. I am asking about someone who uses opioid pain killers to feel "high" and as a coping mechanism. The route of administration is not dangerous like needles or smoking.

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    See this related question on marijuana, and note the weakness of the arguments against it. judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/10609/…
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 11, 2018 at 17:47
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    Taking pain killers to feel "high" does hurt you. I don't know where you learned otherwise.
    – ezra
    Jan 11, 2018 at 17:51
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    Adding to what @ezra stated, let's start with a general rule. One is not allowed to intentionally harm his body. Now to the analogies - There are several places in halacha, Ramaba"m among one place and I think O.C. in another, that prohibit someone from excessive eating (after he eats enough to satisfy his hunger) b/c that harms the body. Halacha, likewise, prohibits drunkenness b/c it harms the mind and causes bad behavior. There's enough scientific evidence showing the harmful bodily effects of long-term opioid use. I would think that it would be prohibited.
    – DanF
    Jan 11, 2018 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


In my understanding, Mutar and Asur are not dichotomous values of the Halakha, rather it is a long scale ranging from very bad explicit sins to highest levels of Kiddush Hashem.

Depending on person's spiritual level on this scale, all behaviors are valued as either Isur or Heter, relatively to his level. For example, using opioids for recreation for a Torah scholar would fall under Bitul Torah and be seriously Asur, but for one who use it to stay away from adultery or eases keeping Shabbos, that can turn into not only Mutar but almost a Mitzvah.

My point is, that as smoking (or other use) is not an explicit prohibition, it must be seen relatively to one's spiritual level.

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    There is something called objective halakha. Not everything depends on a person's level. That idea is antithetical to Judaism. If you didn't mean literally everything, then please edit to clarify.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 12, 2018 at 0:13
  • I think your confusing level (whatever that is) with intent.
    – Double AA
    Jan 12, 2018 at 1:07
  • @mevaqesh This line of thought actually points to an interesting dichotomy that I have been wanting to post as a question, but cannot figure out how to phrase. Everyone knows that there is objective halakha, but I have also heard rabbis say that what is acceptable (or at least not terrible) for one person could be totally forbidden for another. It seems to be wrapped up with ideas around how people were raised, what community they are part of, etc. Is there a name for this concept that I could research to formulate a more coherent question?
    – Mike
    Jan 12, 2018 at 3:29
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    @mevaqesh none of these comments are even tangentially connected the OPs answer - please remove Jan 12, 2018 at 11:00
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    @shoel you are not correct. They relate to Depending on person's spiritual level on this scale, all behaviors are valued as either Isur or Heter, relatively to his level.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 12, 2018 at 16:41

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