Common Household Items Used as Drug Paraphernalia

Sep 2022 Common Household Items Used as Drug Paraphernalia

If you fear that someone you care about has been using drugs, you may be looking for physical, emotional, or behavioral signs of substance abuse. You should also pay attention to what types of items they keep close at hand. Possession of drug paraphernalia can be a strong indicator that a person is involved in drug use. In this article, we will explain what to look out for and describe various drug paraphernalia examples.

What is Drug Paraphernalia?

The term drug paraphernalia describes items that are used to prepare, store, or use substances. In some cases, these items were specifically designed to be employed for drug-related purposes. In many other cases, items that qualify as drug paraphernalia were not originally intended to be used in this manner.

Pipes, bongs, and rolling papers are examples of drug paraphernalia whose primary purpose is to facilitate the ingestion of drugs. These items are typically used to smoke tobacco and marijuana. 

Syringes and hypodermic needles may be considered drug paraphernalia depending on where they are found and how they are used. In a hospital, these items may simply be described as medical supplies. But if they are in the possession of someone who is using them to inject heroin, they would qualify as drug paraphernalia.

What Household Items are Used as Drug Paraphernalia

Pipes, papers, needles, and syringes can be easily recognized as drug paraphernalia. But identifying drug-related items isn’t always a simple matter. Many common household objects are also often adapted for the purpose of storing or using substances. Here are a few examples:

Nail Clippers

If you’re not familiar with cocaine use, you may find it difficult to imagine what do drug addicts use nail clippers for. They may be used to maintain a “coke nail,” or a longer fingernail that can be used to scoop a small amount of cocaine and then snort it. The file that is usually attached to a set of nail clippers can also be used to scoop and snort cocaine.

Tin Foil 

You know the value of tin foil for keeping leftovers fresh. But do you know what drugs use tin foil? Small pieces of tin foil may be used to store heroin. Some people also abuse heroin or methamphetamines by placing the drugs onto a piece of tin foil, heating the foil, and breathing in the resultant smoke or fumes.


Spoons can be essential pieces of drug paraphernalia for people who abuse heroin via intravenous (IV) injection. In these circumstances, a person may put a small amount of heroin into a spoon, then hold the spoon over a lighter or candle to heat it. This liquifies the heroin so that it can then be injected.


Straws have several uses as drug paraphernalia. People who snort cocaine often use a small straw to do so.  Straws may also be used by people who are abusing heroin or meth. They may snort heroin through a straw, or they may heat either heroin or meth and use a straw to inhale the fumes. 


To determine what toothpicks are used for in drugs, it can help to know what type of drug a person is using. If someone uses a pipe or bong to smoke marijuana, they may use toothpicks to clear out the residue that can accumulate inside these devices. If the person has been using methamphetamine, they may soak a toothpick in liquid meth so they can ingest the drug without being noticed.

Paper Clips 

The answer to “what are paper clips used for with drugs?” is that they often fill the same role that toothpicks do for marijuana users. Paper clips are often employed as a pipe or bong cleaner. They can easily be unbent and inserted into small openings in pipes or bongs to remove blockages.

Nail Polish Remover 

You might be surprised to learn what do drug users use nail polish remover for. While the other items on this page are used to facilitate drug use, nail polish remover may actually be a drug of abuse. People who engage in huffing (which involves inhaling the fumes of paint, liquid paper, aerosols, and other common items) may use nail polish remover for this purpose. It is legal to own, it’s not an obvious piece of drug paraphernalia, and it comes in small bottles that can easily be hidden.

Laundry Detergent

People who deal drugs sometimes “cut” (or mix) the drugs with other substances. This makes the amount of drugs a person is buying seem larger than it actually is, so the dealer can make a greater profit. Laundry detergent is sometimes used to cut cocaine and heroin. 

What to do if You Believe Someone is Abusing Drugs

If someone in your life is abusing drugs, the best thing you can do for them is to connect them with an effective source of treatment. The optimal way to accomplish this can depend on several factors, including the nature of your relationship. 

If the person you are concerned about is a close friend or family member, you may begin by speaking directly to them about your concerns. If the individual is a professional colleague or a more distant relative, you may want to first talk with someone who is close to them. 

The most important thing to remember is that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease. This means that if a person has become dependent on alcohol or another drug, this problem won’t simply disappear on its own. Don’t ignore your suspicions. If someone in your life is using drugs, they may need professional treatment.

Contact our Detox Center in Palm Springs, CA Today

If someone that you care about has become addicted to alcohol or another drug, the Phoenix Rising team is here to help. Our detox center in Palm Springs, California, offers personalized treatment in a safe and welcoming environment. Contact us today to learn more.