For better or worse, police officers often receive training in identifying objects that could indicate drug use. The problem is that people who abuse, sell and manufacture drugs use everyday objects. For this reason, a police officer may immediately suspect an individual of possessing drugs due to the presence of one or more object in your possession.
Most illicit drugs require the use of certain objects in order to use, manufacture or sell them. If police suspect you of a drug crime based on objects you are carrying or are in control of, it might be useful to understand what drug officers suspect you have in your possession.
Different drugs require different objects
The official term for these objects is "drug paraphernalia." Those who use drugs often carry a kit that contains all of the items needed in order to use a particular drug. Items such as scales, plastic baggies, balloons and other objects could indicate someone who sells or manufactures drugs. While many objects are commonly known to be used in the drug trade, that does not necessarily mean that a person carrying them is involved in illegal drugs. Many illegal drugs are either snorted or injected.
Paraphernalia associated with snorting drugs
Police often associate the following objects with snorting drugs:
- Small glass vials with or without a spoon in the lid
- Credit, debit or gift cards
- Hollowed out pens
- Cut off straws
- Other hard surfaces
People can use the above objects to snort, or inhale, drugs. This method of drug use bypasses your digestive system allowing the drug to flow directly into the blood stream. For instance, powdered cocaine or heroin can be snorted.
Paraphernalia associated with intravenous drug use
Police often associate the following items with intravenous drug use:
- Belts, straps and rubber tubing used as a tourniquet
- Syringes or needles
- Vitamin C, lemon juice or citric acid
- Alcohol swabs or rubbing alcohol
- Cotton balls, cigarette filters or other materials used to strain a drug
Taking a drug intravenously means injecting it directly into the bloodstream, which causes an instant high or rush. People can also inject heroin and cocaine in addition to snorting them.
People smoke other drugs, so police may look for objects such as pipes, bongs or rolling papers, among other things. Having one or more of these objects in your home or on your person may not necessarily indicate drug use, but a suspicious California officer may use an accusation of possession of drug paraphernalia to lead to more investigation to determine whether you are engaged in some sort of drug crime. For this reason and others, you may want to take such a charge seriously.