If you find drug equipment in your home, your child may be engaging in substance abuse. Learn to identify drug paraphernalia so that you can detect a drug or alcohol problem — and then help solve it.
What Is Drug Paraphernalia?Drug paraphernalia refers to “drug tools” that are used to facilitate illicit substance use. For example, a marijuana smoking pipe is considered paraphernalia. Even though drugs themselves are illegal, most paraphernalia can be purchased legally online. If you are concerned that your teen may be using drugs or drinking, take a look at this drug paraphernalia list and see if anything sounds familiar.
MarijuanaMarijuana can be rolled into a joint and smoked like a cigarette. You may see leftover “butts” or “roaches” if your teen is smoking joints. Teens also use large glass bongs or small glass pipes to smoke weed. Other times, a marijuana pipe looks like an everyday item, such as a pen, lipstick, or an electronic car key. Also, teens may create a makeshift pipe by cutting the bottom from a soda bottle and affixing a mouthpiece to the top or even by carving an apple into a pipe.
AlcoholEvidence of teen drinking often includes beer caps, empty alcohol bottles, and cups that smell like alcohol. Your teen might also use a “beer bong,” a funnel with a long tube attached to the bottom spout.
HeroinSigns of heroin use include burned tin foil or a blackened, bent spoon. Drugs that are injected — like heroin — are often placed on a metal object such as a spoon then melted into liquid over a flame. Your teen may have syringes and constriction devices such as belts and rubber tubes.
CocaineTeens often use flat, smooth surfaces to snort lines of cocaine. You may find bits of white powder on a handheld mirror, along with a credit card, which is a tool for arranging lines of cocaine. For snorting cocaine, teens then turn to homemade drug paraphernalia such as a rolled up dollar bill or another tubular item.
CrackCrack pipes, usually made of clear glass, are slender and short. They look like a laboratory test tube with two open ends.
NarcoticsIf your teen is abusing painkillers, you may notice that they possess prescription pill bottles full of these drugs, despite no recent doctor visits.
InhalantsYou may notice that cans that contain nitrous oxide (such as whipped cream) go missing in your home. Your teen can also buy these drugs legally online, so keep an eye out for unusual online shopping orders, such as nitrous oxide cartridges.
Signs of Drug Use in TeensIf you are wondering how to tell if your child is using drugs, consider not only paraphernalia but also these other common signs of teen drug use:
- Slurred speech
- Unusual mood changes
- Energy level extremes (either lethargic or very energetic)
- Weight loss or gain due to change in appetite
- Unusual odors on clothing, breath, or in bedroom
- Shift in social circle