A Comprehensive Guide to Cocaine Etiquette

By Justin Caffier on August 13, 2017

Illegal drugs carry with them the sordid and vulgar baggage of their production, transportation and sale from farm to table, but one mustn’t ever use those unfortunate circumstances as an excuse for poor manners. 

Whether passing a joint around a party with friends, embarking on a solo psychonaut journey or nodding out under an overpass, proper decorum must be observed at all times, not just as a show of respect to one’s fellow man, but for oneself as well. It is the adherence to these social contracts that elevate us, even in our most inebriated moments, above the beasts of the land mindlessly wolfing down fruits that have fermented in the sun.

The following is a handy manners guide for purchasing, consuming and sharing cocaine while maintaining both dignity and social graces. Whatever the occasion, and however stepped upon it may be, these rules will go a long way toward establishing a more enjoyable overall experience for both you and others in the vicinity.


- Use your dealer’s preferred encrypted messaging app of choice and/or adhere to their rules about what words are and aren’t allowed in pre-deal communications.

- When buying and sampling in a dealer’s home, do not defecate in their bathroom, no matter how potent the product may be. Hold it in and find a fast food establishment once you’ve left.

- If purchasing from a dealer in public, never wave cash about, as it is both gauche and draws unwanted attention to the sale.

- If picking up for a friend, allow yourself no more than ONE “finder’s fee” bump from their bag.

- If asking a friend to pick up on your behalf, pay them up front, whenever possible, with cash or in money-transfer apps.

- If using a money-transfer app, never use obvious emojis (snowflake, skier, etc.) to label the transaction, even if the exchange is non-public.

- If multiple parties have chipped in for a bag, they must stay cognizant of their fair share so as to not accidentally (or purposefully) get greedy.

- If a sole owner of a bag offers a buy in with verbiage along the lines of “just give me $X,” or “$X is fine,” and the offer is accepted, the secondary party should be considered an equal partner in the remainder of the bag.


- As a rule of thumb, the owner(s) of the bag has final say in what happens to their supply. Their house rules trump all others.

- The owner(s) should be the one(s) to invite others to partake in a sample.

- If you have been offered a bump/line by the owner(s), do not ask for a follow up. If the owner(s) have offered you samples more than THREE times in one setting, you reserve the right to request ONE additional sample. Exercise this right with restraint and, should your request be denied, graciously accept that decision.

- In the case of co-ownership, all invitee samples are to come out of the inviter’s portion.

- If you have been offered a free sample by the owner(s), do not ask if your friend may have a sample as well.

- As with all other shared substances, passing goes in a clockwise circle.

- When given a bag to take into a bathroom or otherwise private location for a behind-closed-doors bump, the honor system is in place. Take your two bumps and return the bag. Nobody is expecting you’ll take just one anyway.

- Whenever possible, use a sterile straw over a dirty bank note, which opens you up to catching hepatitis C.

- When sharing straws and spoons, be sure to both pass the instrument along with the coke as well as clean off any mess that might be left by your own nostril.

- Do not ask a stranger if you may have some of their coke, even if you lead with an offer of cash payment.

- That said, if you are the owner of the bag, do keep in mind that cocaine is a social drug, meant to be shared. Learn the difference between rationing and stinginess and offer samples accordingly.


- When keying a bump from someone else’s supply, the height of the mound should not exceed the width of the scooping instrument.

- When bumping someone else’s supply, keep a steady hand when transferring from bag to nostril. A botched maneuver does not warrant a second attempt.

- For lines, the owner chops and cuts unless they ask someone else to. 

- If you are asked by the owner to cut, try to keep lines uniform in width and length, not too thick, and even in number prepared.

- If you are asked by the owner to cut, return the surface to them once you’ve finished so that they may have first go.

- When cutting, make an attempt to clean excess powder off the card and fold into the line.

- Finger cleaning of surface, card and bag go to owner unless otherwise offered.


- If someone has a coke booger, pull them aside to privately inform them of it.

- All noises, retches and gags stemming from bad “drip” should either be politely ignored or inquired about from an earnest place of concern.

- Even if you are comfortable and open about your safe, responsible and recreational usage of a drug, it is not your place to out anyone else’s.

- If you are adult enough to spend money on a dangerous drug, you’re old enough to call it by its given name or one of the more mainstream slang terms (coke, blow, yay, white). Avoid silly and pointlessly obtuse euphemisms like “Peruvian marching powder,” “Belushi” or “booger sugar.”

- Be aware of your surroundings: Never be so flagrant with your club booth bumps that a bouncer is forced to come over and reprimand you. Furthermore, if you and a friend need to utilize a private bathroom together for a session, please be cognizant of the line of full bladders that may be forming outside the door and keep it quick.

- If you find yourself regularly doing coke alone, you might want to reflect on the habit you’ve formed and take a break.

As with any recreational drug, make sure the substance is there to enhance your good time, and not to act as the sole source of it. It should also go without saying that the manners and niceties of the non-drug arena remain in play alongside these more specific rules. Don’t forget the magic words you were taught at a young age. “Please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” “excuse me” and “I’m sorry” are just as appropriate and impactful in a bathroom stall as they are at high tea.

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