A Guide to Drug Paraphernalia & The Drugs To Go With Them

For those who are not familiar with drug addiction, navigating aspects of the sub-culture can be confusing. It has its own language, consisting of thinly veiled references to drug consumption and distribution. It has its own music, which has permeated much of the larger mainstream, and it has its own paraphernalia, which ranges from the elaborate to the mundane.

For parents and loved ones of addicts, understanding certain aspects of the drug culture is important so that they can spot warning signs of usage, and intervene wherever possible. For instance, if your son or daughter has certain drug paraphernalia hidden in their room, if you are unaware of what it is used for, you will be less apt to understand that it may hint at a larger drug problem. Recognizing what these items look like and what they can be used for is important in helping to self-guard your loved one from drug addiction. So let’s take a deeper look at some of the most common items that are associated with drug usage so that you can better equip yourself with this knowledge and get your loved one help if necessary.

What is Drug Paraphernalia?

Identifying drug paraphernalia can be extremely difficult because products are often marketed as though they were designed for legitimate purposes. An excellent example of this is pipes and bongs. These pieces of equipment are commonly used to smoke marijuana, but oftentimes will be labeled with disclaimers stating that their intended use is only for tobacco products.

There are several ways in which users can obtain drug paraphernalia. In our Internet-dominated age, many people who use drugs can obtain paraphernalia through online manufacturers and through mail-order businesses. What may be surprising to some people is the fact that drug paraphernalia is frequently sold at a variety of retail outlets such as tobacco shops, gift and novelty shops, gas stations, and convenience stores.

Yet this sort of paraphernalia is not limited to store-bought or online purchases. People who are seeking to hide their drug use will often use common household items to conceal their stashes. These types of common household materials are ideal for addicts who are attempting to hide their drug usage because they look innocent at first glance and won’t arouse suspicion.

Different Types of Drug Paraphernalia  

There are many examples of drug paraphernalia that those in active addiction will use in order to hide their drug use. Perhaps the most difficult thing for family and friends to understand in regards to paraphernalia is the fact that the culture of drug use is ever evolving. As the culture of drug use changes, so does the means for producing products to conceal use. The following are the most common types of drug paraphernalia that drug users utilize.

drug paraphernalia

Pipes and Bowls

Perhaps the most commonly identifiable pieces of drug paraphernalia are pipes and bowls. Pipes and bowls are commonly made from ceramic or glass, but users can also create pipes or bowls that are fashioned out of household items such as tin foil. Often times they are used to smoke marijuana but they can also be used to smoke crack or methamphetamine.


Grinders are devices that are used to grind pot so it burns evenly when smoked. Grinders are often cylindrical in appearance with two halves that separate. These devices have sharp teeth or pegs that are aligned in a way that when both halves are put together and turned it will shred the material inside. Grinders are available in acrylic, metal, and aluminum–and there are also electric grinder models that are available for purchase.

Baggies (Sandwich sized or smaller)

Baggies are common items that users stash various quantities of substances in. Drug users can use two main types of baggies.  Small, translucent ones called glassine baggies can be used to hold heroin, and standard plastic baggies can be used by addicts to store marijuana, cocaine and other drugs.

Aluminum Foil and Cans

Aluminum foil can be fashioned into makeshift pipes to smoke a variety of drugs including crack, heroin, marijuana or meth. If you see excessive amounts of used aluminum foil that appears to be burned, you may want to have a conversation with your loved one about their drug usage. Another common household item used by addicts are discarded soda or beer cans. Oftentimes drug users will take the discarded can, flatten it and poke a hole in the center and use that as a pipe of sorts to smoke drugs.

Pens and Straws

Pens and drinking straws are also common household items that can be used for drug use. They can be hollowed out and used to snort cocaine or to smoke marijuana. Pens can also be ideal stash spots when put back together. Additionally, rolled up dollar bills can also be a sign that drug usage is occurring, especially if you notice residue.


Syringes are used for intravenously injecting numerous drugs such as morphine, heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, and meth. Like tinfoil, this paraphernalia item usually comes along with secondary items. Examples of these items include cotton balls, cigarette filters, spoons missing from the kitchen and cigarette lighters. Syringes can be obtained in a variety of ways including online, at medical supply stores, pharmacies, and users can often obtain syringes from a family member or friend who has diabetes or another medical condition which requires their use.

Getting Help For Drug Addiction

If you think that a loved one or friend is struggling with drug addiction, now is the time to act. While you feel that you want to do everything in your power to help those struggling with substance abuse, professional help is often times needed if an addict is truly going to break the vicious cycle of addiction for good. Dream Center for Recovery offers all who seek help a wide variety of treatment programs that can address all aspects of addiction in mind, body and spirit. Our experienced treatment professionals can create an individualized treatment and recovery plan that can address each client’s unique and specific needs. Call us today at 1-877-  978-3148.