“Drug paraphernalia” is a term to denote any equipment, product, accessory or material that is modified for making, using or concealing drugs, typically for recreational purposes. Remember the good old days when drug paraphernalia simply meant a burnt out roach or a little glass pipe to smoke some pot in? Those were the simpler times before my addiction exploded into the full force monster it eventually became. By the time my active using had reached its pinnacle, I would need to carry around a separate bag to contain all the tools and items needed in order to properly get high. I carried one purse for all of my day to day items like a wallet, sunglasses, cell phone, chapstick, etc. And then I always carried around a little crown royal bag to carry the REAL necessities.
Keep in mind, I have a type A personality, and can be a bit of a germaphobe as well, so while I was usually stocked to the teeth with various paraphernalia, many people may not have been this anal retentive about their equipment. If I had ever been searched by the police, I could have easily been locked away for a long time. As I look back on my past, I realize how absolutely insane I was, and I am sometimes in shock when I think about how much the ritual really was a huge aspect of my addiction.
The Cocaine Essentials
If you were an avid cocaine user such as myself, there were probably a variety of items you kept on you at all times to ensure you could be prepared wherever you went. For example, I tried to avoid using dollar bills because they are filthy, so I always had a stockpile of straws cut into little 3 inch pieces. I could also always be found with at least one razor blade (the hoard increased as my crack days came into play) and at all times, some form of a mirror or a smooth, non-porous book that I could use as a surface to lay out lines on.
When Cocaine Turned to Crack
Now we had to add a whole new plethora of items into the bag. Depending on my mood, and where I was getting high at, I would have several lighters strewn about my belongings, and I would always make sure to buy a new one before my evening began. Next came the pennies and razor blades and a skinny metal rod with a pokey end. Then the spoon. I always had a burnt spoon in my possession at all times… what an idiot. The pennies and razor blades would be eternally caked with residue, so when I ran out of money I could spend hours scraping the sides to try to get just a little bit to smoke. Then the pipe and the chore. God, I tell you I was a walking felony charge. Again, what an idiot. I am, however, grateful that I never started to shoot crack because a bottle of vinegar would have never fit into my crown royal bag alongside everything else I already carried in there.
The Dope Days
It all started with the Oxycontin. I immediately skipped over the idea of eating them because I wanted a harder, faster high, so right from the jump, I was using the straws, razor blades and mirrors to get my fix. Then when I started smoking them, it became gutted pens and tin foil. When that stopped working, and the heroin was introduced, the basic essentials were around the same as the ones used for cocaine, as I had promised myself I was only going to sniff it. However, since addiction is progressive, slowly but surely, I became more willing to use needles. Then the tools became the same for the crack, I had the spoon, the lighter, and just added a piece of cotton and a syringe to the mix. After a time when I no longer cared what I was even shooting into my body, I dropped the spoon and lighter and just started using bottle caps, and the filters from cigarettes. The new syringe every time eventually turned into one two week old needle that was dull and had a weak pull, and the water to mix it with developed into puddle water, toilet water, and there was that one time I had to use spit (it didn’t go so well).
The Meth Factory
It all started out the same, blowing lines with straws, and then moving down the ranks to the little stemmed pipe, until I graduated at the lowest of the class and started to shoot it. It’s funny how we always say “well I would never do THAT” until the day comes when we can’t get high anymore UNLESS we do that. Drug paraphernalia was all the same, the spoon, the lighter, the touch of water, the ritual. I was a slave to the ritual, always. The setup process was more than often half the fun of it all. I had to always do it myself, to ensure that every shot was made “up to par.”
Regardless of why I was doing the drugs I was doing, the drug paraphernalia was always a dead give away to my mother on how bad I really was. When I would finally come home after a week or two of being MIA, and pass out for the next 27 hours, she would obviously search through my belongings. Bless her sweet heart that woman has only smoked pot once in her life, so she had no idea which one of my tools actually did what, but she could tell there was an issue. The first time she found a crack pipe she asked if I had been smoking too much pot and if that was why I had been sleeping so much. That poor, sweet woman.
Today, after many 24 hours of sobriety, I work in treatment. I primarily handle the intakes of new clients that come in and during that process, I get to ask them if they have any outstanding legal charges that need to addressed during their stay. I wish I was lying to you when I said that one of the most common charges I see come across my desk are drug paraphernalia charges. People got caught with a needle, with tin foil, with dirty spoons and razor blades. I thank whatever God is out there watching over me that I was always too stuck on the couch to get up and try to drive anywhere. There was a time that I was moving across the country to “try and get sober” and I got pulled over in Delaware, speeding. My car was littered with straws, gutted pens lined with brown residue, and burnt up pieces of tin foil. Luckily, I had my beautiful blue eyed German Shepherd in the back seat and the police were so distracted by him that they didn’t even search the car. I definitely had a guardian angel. I could have easily been arrested on multiple counts of drug paraphernalia, and my dog would have been abandoned on the side of the highway in god knows where Delaware.
Today I no longer have to worry about having an extra bag to store all my equipment in. I don’t have to live in fear of being found carrying around a small arsenal of grocery store items in order to feel okay. I was pretty much a bag lady, homeless and carrying around empty cans and eating out of cat food tins. All I was missing was a grocery cart.
Seeking Treatment for Addiction and Alcoholism
If you or a loved one has a problem with alcoholism or addiction and want to experience recovery in a thriving community with lots of people just like you, then call the professionals at Stout Street today at 866-722-7040. Our trained staff is standing by to take your call and help you in any way we can. We know how difficult of a decision this can be and we know what it takes to ensure you find your own person path in recovery. You no longer have to do it alone, so give us a call today and find the happy and sober life you’ve always dreamed of.