Drug paraphernalia common with recreational use

Drug Paraphernalia: What You Should Know

December 23, 2022

It’s not always easy to know if someone you love is using dangerous drugs. They will try to conceal it from you, and it’s unlikely you will catch them in the act or see their “stash” lying around. But you might be tipped off in the form of drug paraphernalia. By being able to spot some of the most common types, you’ll have a greater chance of being able to help your loved one sooner than later.

What Is Drug Paraphernalia?

Simply put, drug paraphernalia is any item used to consume, produce, or store drugs. The term is most often connected to drug use of a recreational nature. Even the most seemingly mundane household items like an empty can of soda may be used in the consumption of drugs. While you aren’t likely to see these items sitting out on the kitchen counter, you could find them hiding in a bedroom or vehicle.

Common Types Of Drug Paraphernalia

How can you help if you don’t know what you’re looking for? To solve this problem, we’ve compiled a list of the most common types of drug paraphernalia. Some are fairly obvious, others are not. Regardless, you’ll be better prepared to spot a suspicious item and take action.

  • Bowls and pipes: Typically made of glass or metal, bowls and pipes used to smoke marijuana or hash typically look much different than the one your grandpa used for tobacco. Glass pipes often have an elaborate coloring or design similar to a piece of art. Regardless of the style, these items will have a bowl portion where the drug is burned, leaving a telltale black residue and distinctive smell.

  • Bongs and hookahs: Ranging in size from a foot to over three feet tall, bongs or water pipes are popular among marijuana users. Bongs have a bowl on the side and the water serves as a filtration system to get a more intense “high”. Hookahs are another water pipe typically with one or more stems allowing for multiple users. Often associated with flavored tobacco, they might also be used for smoking marijuana, hash, and opium.

  • Needles, bent spoons, and Q-tips: These are the classic implements of a heroin user. The spoon is used to “cook” the heroin into a liquid form. Cotton from the Q-tip serves as a filter to remove impurities and the needle is used for the injection. If you find these things, act quickly, as intravenous opiate usage is highly dangerous.

  • Pill crusher or strainer: The pill crusher is a bit more obvious but both items can be used for the purpose of crushing pills into a powder so they may be snorted. If your trusty kitchen strainer is found in a loved one’s room, there might be a substance use issue.

  • Chore Boy and Brillo Pads: Brand names of copper or steel wool scouring pads, these product has become synonymous with crack cocaine usage. A pad is used in place of a screen within a clear glass crack pipe (or stem). Like a screen, it holds the drug in place so it can be burned. You might find little bits of the material in a loved one’s trash can.

  • Small mirror and empty pen tube: A common item around the home, small mirrors are popular among people who snort cocaine or pills as it provides a quick surface. Drugs are often snorted off the mirror using an empty pen tube. If you see one laying around, you might check it for drug residue.

  • Tinfoil: Another common household item, tinfoil is often found within a makeshift marijuana pipe and can also be used in smoking cocaine or heroin. Burnt tinfoil around the house is a common indicator of drug use.

Get Help Today At Sunrise Detox

If you’ve found drug paraphernalia in your home and want to take the next steps to get your loved one help, contact Sunrise Detox at 888-443-3869. Our experienced and compassionate staff is standing by to provide the support you need.