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National Drug Intelligence Center
Product No. 2003-L0559-025

September 2003

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Cover image linked to printable Drug Paraphernalia Fast Facts brochure.
Background photo © John Foxx Images;
Cover photo NDIC. Courtesy of  City of Johnstown (PA) Police Department

Printable brochure (494 KB pdf)

Drug Paraphernalia
Fast Facts

Questions and Answers 

     - What are drug paraphernalia?
     - What do drug paraphernalia look like?
     - Where are drug paraphernalia sold?
     - What are examples of drug paraphernalia?
     - Are drug paraphernalia illegal?

Other products of interest
Contact us 

National Drug Intelligence Center
a component of the 
U.S. Department of Justice.

hat are drug paraphernalia?

The term drug paraphernalia refers to any equipment that is used to produce, conceal, and consume illicit drugs. It includes but is not limited to items such as bongs, roach clips, miniature spoons, and various types of pipes.

Under federal law the term drug paraphernalia means "any equipment, product or material of any kind which is primarily intended or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, concealing, producing, processing, preparing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance."


What do drug paraphernalia look like?

Identifying drug paraphernalia can be challenging because products often are marketed as though they were designed for legitimate purposes. Marijuana pipes and bongs, for example, frequently carry a misleading disclaimer indicating that they are intended to be used only with tobacco products. Recognizing drug paraphernalia often involves considering other factors such as the manner in which items are displayed for sale, descriptive materials or instructions accompanying the items, and the type of business selling the items.

Photograph of a postage scale.
Postage scale frequently used to weigh drugs.
NDIC. Courtesy of  City of Johnstown (PA) Police Department
Photograph of a marijuana pipe disguised as a green marker.
Marijuana pipe hidden inside marker.
Photograph of pencil size glass and metal pipes.
Glass and metal pipes used to smoke
crack cocaine and methamphetamine.
NDIC. Courtesy of  City of Johnstown (PA) Police Department

Marijuana pipes, spoon with cocaine residue, and marijuana bong.
NDIC. Courtesy of  City of Johnstown (PA) Police Department

The appearance of drug paraphernalia varies depending upon the manufacturer and intended purpose. Increasingly, bongs, pipes, and other paraphernalia are manufactured in bright, trendy colors and bear designs such as skulls, devils, dragons, and wizards. Manufacturers attempt to glamorize drug use and make their products attractive to teenagers and young adults.

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Where are drug paraphernalia sold?

Drug paraphernalia can be obtained through various means. Many large manufacturers market their products over the Internet and through mail-order businesses. In addition, drug paraphernalia frequently are sold at tobacco shops, trendy gift and novelty shops, gas stations, and convenience stores.

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What are examples of drug paraphernalia?

Pipes (metal, wooden, acrylic, glass,
    stone, plastic, or ceramic)
Water pipes
Roach clips
Miniature spoons
Chillums (cone-shaped marijuana/hash pipes)
Cigarette papers
Cocaine freebase kits

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Are drug paraphernalia illegal?

Yes, drug paraphernalia are illegal. The drug paraphernalia statute, U. S. Code Title 21 Section 863, makes it "unlawful for any person to sell or offer for sale drug paraphernalia; to use the mails or any other facility of interstate commerce to transport drug paraphernalia; or to import or export drug paraphernalia."


Other products of interest:

Check out Fast Facts on:

  • Crack cocaine
  • Crystal methamphetamine
  • Drug-facilitated sexual assault
  • DXM
  • Fentanyl
  • Foxy
  • Fry
  • GHB and analogs
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants
  • Jimsonweed
  • Ketamine
  • Khat
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • MDMA
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methamphetamine laboratory hazards
  • OxyContin
  • PCP
  • Powdered cocaine
  • Prescription drugs
  • Psilocybin
  • Ritalin
  • Rohypnol
  • Salvia divinorum
  • Steroids
  • Teens and drugs
  • Triple C
  • Yaba

Also available from NDIC:

  • Huffing--The Abuse of Inhalants
  • Prescription Drug Abuse and Youth
  • Drugs, Youth, and the Internet

For more information on illicit drugs check out our web site at:  Call 814-532-4541 to request NDIC products.


Contact us

Our addresses:

National Drug Intelligence Center
319 Washington Street, 5th Floor
Johnstown , PA 15901-1622
  Telephone: 814-532-4601
  FAX: 814-532-4690

NDIC Washington Liaison Office
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 1001
McLean , VA 22102-3840
  Telephone: 703-556-8970
  FAX: 703-556-7807

NDIC publications are available on the following web sites:

ADNET  http://ndicosa

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End of document.