If you’ve begun to suspect your loved one of using drugs, one of the most obvious tell-tale signs is whether they have any drug paraphernalia hiding anywhere. Some of these paraphernalia items, like tin foil, spoons, or straws may not jump out at you as items of concern right away, so it’s important to know what exactly it is to be on the lookout for.
In many cases, the type of paraphernalia your loved one has can help you identify what type of drug it is they’re using. We’ve compiled a list of five of the most commonly abused drugs, along with a bit of information on how they’re commonly taken and paraphernalia to keep your eye out for.
How it’s taken: Marijuana, also known as cannabis or by its common street names weed or pot, can be taken in a few different ways. Most commonly, weed is smoked, either from a joint, a pipe, or a bong. It’s also often baked into pastries, like brownies or cakes, and eaten.
Common paraphernalia: Be on the lookout for rolling papers, plastic baggies, pipes, bongs, tweezers or metal clips (used to hold a joint), or eye drops (used to reduce redness).
How it’s taken: Cocaine is usually crushed into a fine powder, divided into lines, and snorted through the nose. Less commonly, and much more dangerously, it may also be smoked or injected.
Common paraphernalia: Be on the lookout for razor blades (used to create lines to snort), straws or rolled up bills or pieces of paper (used to snort), small pipes (for smoking), or needles and syringes (for injecting).
How it’s taken: Most often, users will heat heroin on a surface like tin foil or a spoon, and inhale the smoke that comes off it. It is also often dissolved in water and injected. This method brings with it a greater risk of overdose.
Common paraphernalia: Heroin requires a lot of paraphernalia, but the most common items to look for include lighters, spoons, tin foil, needles and syringes, and belts or cords (used to tie off the arm in preparation for injection).
How they’re taken: Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a group of drugs known as tranquilizers or “downers”, and include brand names like Xanax and Valium. These drugs come as tablets or capsules and are usually swallowed, but can also be crushed and injected.
Common paraphernalia: Look out for pill bottles and pills themselves. Xanax pills are football-shaped, with the word “Xanax” on one side. Valium pills are round tablets with the letter “V” cut out.
How it’s taken: Methamphetamine, or meth, comes in many forms and is commonly smoked, snorted, injected, or swallowed.
Common paraphernalia: DIfferent types of paraphernalia will be required to use meth, depending on how it’s being taken. Common items to look out for include pipes, lighters, tin foil shaped into a bowl, straws, syringes, and razor blades.
The information in this article is a starter guide only. There are so many types of drugs and various paraphernalia that go with each of them. If you believe your loved one may be abusing drugs, it’s important to confront them gently and help them seek treatment if they need it.