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Drug Paraphernalia Explained

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Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

Drug Paraphernalia Explained

What to look for if you suspect drug or alcohol addiction in your home?

Since we are not all familiar with the world of drugs, we don’t all know what to look for to recognise drug use. Drugs need to be used or taken in certain ways, and the ways we use to take them to involve different pieces of equipment. Signs can be obvious or obscure, and that’s where Help4Addiction come in.

We have used this article to outline the different types of drug paraphernalia. Identification of paraphernalia is half the battle. Once you can spot the signs, it makes it far easier to recognise if your;

or loved one, has an addiction problem with drugs or alcohol misuse.

What is Drug Paraphernalia?

Let’s start with the basics and answer the question of what drug paraphernalia is. This is an umbrella term, which means it covers lots of different things. Paraphernalia is the accoutrements to something – the equipment you use to make that something possible. When applied to drugs, paraphernalia is everything that constitutes a sign that drugs have been used. 

Examples of Drug Paraphernalia

An example of the paraphernalia of alcohol addiction is the simplest place to start. If you are an alcoholic and you drink every day, you are going to have numerous empty bottles, cans, cartons, or packs left over. These bottles and cans are paraphernalia. They are signs of alcohol addiction but are simultaneously a piece of equipment without which your addiction wouldn’t be possible.

If we were to look at a serious drug addiction such as heroin use, we would expect other signs. We might find used needles, belts, or cords for strapping arms to find a vein, or even lighters and teaspoons used to heat the drug. 

Let’s look at other common drug paraphernalia that an addict might leave around the house. We will examine what to look for and which substance it relates to. Remember, if someone drinks alcohol once a week, there will be evidence of a bottle or two. If the person is addicted, there will be more than one or two bottles. 

Cannabis Paraphernalia

The annual crime survey of England and Wales for last year pointed out that a full 30% of adults between 16-64 have used Cannabis at least once in their lives. With other countries legalising marijuana, such as Canada and US states like Colorado, UK supporters speculate it won’t be long before we legalise it too. Regardless of what we do with it, we need to remember that it is a drug. Marijuana dependence has been medically proven

Cannabis paraphernalia might look like this:

  • Cigarette or rolling paper packets which have been torn into squares.
  • Cigarettes that have been torn up, usually into thirds.
  • A herb grinder
  • Cigarettes or rolling tobacco 
  • Rolling papers, even when they smoke cigarettes
  • Rolling trays or devices

Cocaine Paraphernalia 

If you suspect a loved one, friend, or work colleague, is using cocaine, it may be difficult to spot. Consider their actions as well as paraphernalia. Are they secretive? Are they twitchy? Cocaine users can appear as though they have drunk far too much coffee. They can also go to the bathroom more than a normal person would. This is because they are snorting in the bathroom.

Look for white powder around the nose or on the back of their hand. Signs of cocaine use paraphernalia include:

  • A rolled-up note, which is used as a straw for the nose.
  • A small straw
  • A small scoop
  • Some cocaine users keep it in a small cap-like pendant on a necklace
  • Credit cards or bank cards left lying on a flat surface, usually a tray
  • A small tray with white dust on it

Other Drug Paraphernalia

Asides from these two common drugs and their paraphernalia, here are other signs to look for and their corresponding drugs:

  1. Crystal meth paraphernalia includes vaporisers, lighters, and metal spoons.
  2. Crack cocaine is usually smoked through a crack pipe.
  3. Prescription painkiller addiction will cause lots of empty blister packets
  4. Steroid addiction may cause unnecessary needles in your building
  5. Pipes can indicate either smoking crack cocaine or cannabis use
  6. Little balls of tinfoil are usually used to hold heroin and crystal meth
  7. Small bags are used for cannabis and cocaine
  8. Cannabis and crack are sometimes taken by using a bong or hookah

If you find any of the drug paraphernalia listed in this article lying around your home or building, then someone needs help. Try not to be angry or judgemental and approach with a loving attitude. 

What to do if you find Drug Paraphernalia in your Home?

If you do find the above equipment and you want further advice, don’t hesitate to contact Help4Addiction. Our expert team is fully informed on all things addictions. Call now, on 0203 955 7700.

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