Home Safety Guide

There are signs in the home that your child may be using drugs or alcohol.

Parents’ attentiveness is critical

How can you tell if your child is using drugs? You may already know the physical warning signs of substance use by kids, but it’s wise to know what paraphernalia are used to engage in drug-related activities and how to identify them. By knowing what to look for, parents can continue to play an important role in the lives of their child.

Go to any shopping mall and you might be surprised to see several stores selling items that not only promote drug use, but also provide the means for pre-teens and teens to engage in drug-related activities. Walk to your local corner or convenience store and you're likely to find drug paraphernalia right next to the candy bars, being sold as cute gadgets or knick knacks.

Posters, stickers, T-shirts, key chains, and air fresheners are obvious items to spot, but drug paraphernalia come in many forms. Some drug paraphernalia are specifically designed to look like everyday items that you might find in a teen's room, backpack, purse or car.


photopill crusher

Drug Paraphernalia - what to watch for

What are drug paraphernalia?  The term refers to any equipment that is used to produce, conceal and consume illicit drugs. It includes but is not limited to items such as needles, 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."

Drug Paraphernalia

What do drug paraphernalia look like?
This can be challenging because drug paraphernalia are often marketed as products designed for legitimate purposes. Pens, glass balls, and tweezers, can all be used as drug paraphernalia.

Actual marijuana pipes and bongs, for example, frequently carry a disclaimer indicating that they are intended to be used only with tobacco products.

Marijuana Set

Recognizing drug paraphernalia often involves considering taking a closer look at the way in which items are displayed for sale, descriptive materials or instructions that accompany the items, and the type of business selling the items.



Drug paraphernalia are often marketed specifically to youth

Using colorful logos, celebrity pictures and designs like smiley faces, these items are meant to look harmless and disguise the dangers of taking controlled substances. Products made to look like magic markers can actually be pipes, and small, hand-painted, blown glass items that look like pretty trinkets can be pipes or stash containers.


Manufacturers attempt to normalize drug use and make their products attractive to teenagers and young adults. Increasingly, bongs, pipes, and other paraphernalia are manufactured in bright, trendy colours and bear designs such as skulls, devils, dragons, and wizards.

Where are drug paraphernalia sold?
Many large manufacturers market their products over the Internet and through mail-order businesses. Drug paraphernalia, and the regular items that can be used to take drugs are sold at "head shops", tobacco shops, and even trendy gift and novelty shops, gas stations, and convenience stores.