What is drug paraphernalia?

Drug paraphernalia does not necessarily mean items created to accompany drug use. The Texas Controlled Substances Act says that the key to whether something is drug paraphernalia is determining if someone has used or intends to use the item in question in some way related to illegal drugs.

With this in mind, it may seem as if almost anything could be paraphernalia. The law gives examples of common objects law enforcement seize.

Objects for drug use

When law enforcement sees certain items, officers may suspect someone has recently used drugs. These include hypodermic syringes and other types of needles that people may use to inject a controlled substance. Police also have experience and training in recognizing a wide range of pipes and materials used to act as pipes, such as:

  • Carburetion tubes
  • Water pipes
  • Smoking masks
  • Electric pipes
  • Bongs
  • Ice pipes
  • Chamber pipes

Objects for packaging, storing and concealing drugs

If an officer sees a balloon in the passenger seat of a vehicle, he or she may not immediately assume the driver has used it to conceal drugs, but it may prompt a closer look. Baggies are also common for transporting substances, as well as capsules and other containers that can conceal small amounts of a drug.

Other drug-related objects

Testing equipment, scales, sifters, mixing devices, spoons and bowls may only be paraphernalia because someone has used them in conjunction with drugs. If no residue of drugs is on these objects, it may be difficult for a prosecutor to prove that a defendant intended them for use with drugs.