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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Drug paraphernalia is any equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Drug paraphernalia generally falls into two categories including user-specific products and dealer-specific products.

User-specific products are marketed to illegal drug users to assist them in taking or concealing illegal drugs. These products include glass hashish pipes, crack cocaine pipes, smoking masks, hashish bongs, cocaine freebase kits, syringes, roach clips for holding the burning end of a marijuana "joint", and items such as hollowed-out cosmetic cases or fake pagers used to conceal illegal drugs. Some stores sell items for growing hydroponic marijuana, such as guidebooks, fertilizer, and fluorescent grow-lights, and products purported to cleanse an individuals system of drug residues to increase the individual's chance of passing a urine analysis for drug use.

Dealer-specific products are used by drug traffickers for preparing illegal drugs for distribution at the street level. Items such as digital scales, vials, and small "ziploc" baggies that can be used to sell crack, heroin, or marijuana fall into this category.



With the rise of the drug culture in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, the country began to see the appearance of head shops, which were stores that sold a wide range of drug paraphernalia. While some of the paraphernalia was crude and home-made, much was being commercially manufactured to cater to a fast-growing market. Enterprising individuals even sold items openly in the street, until anti-paraphernalia laws in the 1980s eventually ended such sales. Today, law enforcement faces another challenge. With the advent of the Internet, drug paraphernalia sellers have greatly expanded their sales to a worldwide market. For example, in a recent law enforcement effort, Operation Pipe Dreams, the 18 companies targeted accounted for more than a quarter of a billion dollars in retail drug paraphernalia sales annually.

Legal restrictions

In the United States, under the Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute, which is part of the Controlled Substances Act, it is illegal to sell, transport through the mail, transport across state lines, import, or export drug paraphernalia as defined. There is no Federal law regarding simple possession of drug paraphernalia, but such possession is usually illegal under State law. The law gives specific guidance on determining what constitutes drug paraphernalia. Many states have also enacted their own laws prohibiting drug paraphernalia. Government crackdowns have resulted in the arrest of sellers of recreational drug paraphernalia, such as actor Tommy Chong, who spent time in prison in 2003 for having his name used on bongs for sale via the internet.

Other products banned

While most of the drug paraphernalia items have no legal use to individuals, drug paraphernalia laws can also apply to many items that have more legitimate uses than for illegal drugs. Small mirrors and other glass products (such as Pyrex test tubes and "glass crack pipes"), lighters, rolled up currency, razor blades, aluminum/tin foil, credit cards, and spoons have all been used to prosecute people under paraphernalia laws, whether or not they contain residue of illegal drugs.[1] While United States federal statute defines paraphernalia with the concept of primary use, in practice this can be interpreted to be what the individual was currently primarily using the item for, allowing for common items to be treated as paraphernalia only in cases where more clear evidence allows such determination of primary use.

See also


  1. ^ Note: Most paper currency in the United States does contain trace amounts of cocaine and other drugs [1]


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