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Drug Information

sunshine coast health care center

Heroin 6
Typical supplies provided at a safe-injection site include (from left to right): metal vestibule (or “cooker”), alcohol swab, water pack (blue container), rubber tie, and insulin syringe (needle). Not visible is the small cotton filter that is placed in the cooker to prevent solids from being drawn into the needle.

Marijuana 2
A bud of marijuana.

Marijuana 3
Hash oil applied to rolling paper and rolled with tobacco (or marijuana).

Hashish 1
Chunks of hashish stored in a “stash box.”

Marijuana 4
Blunts are flavoured, pre-fabricated hollow tobacco leaves that are stuffed with marijuana then smoked.

Marijuana 5
A joint of marijuana.

Marijuana 6
Various pipes (from left to right) for the smoking of pot or hash made from ceramic, glass and metal. The ceramic pipe that resembles a cigarette is a type of pipe (often called a “one-hitter,” or “hitter”) that is used when smoking pot in public.

Marijuana 7
More pipes (from left to right) for the smoking of pot include a glass “bong,” a glass “chillum,” and a converted pop can.

Marijuana 8
Smoke shops sell many products disguised as consumer products designed to conceal (i.e. pop can with inside storage) or consume (i.e. highlighter that doubles as a pot pipe) drugs.

Cocaine 4
Crack paraphernalia includes (from l to r) a used crack pipe fitted with a mouthpiece, a small and large glass tube (“straight shooter”), yellow plastic mouth piece to prevent lip burns, brillo pad (filter), a pipe cleaner, and a poker for air passage.

Cocaine 5
Crystal meth paraphernalia includes (from left to right) a torch lighter, meth pipe, a test tube converted into a meth pipe, and a broken light bulb.

Cocaine 6
An “8-ball” of cocaine powder. Package is made from small squares of garbage bag plastic that are bound tight with dental floss. Any excess material above the dental floss is cut off using scissors.

Cocaine 7
Various packages for storing powder drugs. “Flaps” are small envelopes made from folded squares of lottery paper or glossy magazine stock that will not stick to the substance. Small zip-loc bags (“baggies”) are used for powder and rocks.


Drug paraphernalia is any equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing illegal drugs.

Drug Containers

Many drugs that are sold in powder form are often sold in “flaps” which are small square pieces of shiny paper (such as magazine paper or lottery paper) folded into an envelope. Other containers include small glass vials, re-sealable plastic baggies, and tiny sacks called “8-balls.”

8-balls are used when drug dealers work in close proximity to law enforcement. 8-balls are small, tight and round to make it easier to swallow and avoid detection. There are two layers of garbage bag to prevent the package from exploding in the stomach if the product has to be quickly swallowed and keep the product from getting wet since dealers often hide 8-balls between the cheek and gum. Heroin 8-balls typically use black garbage bag while cocaine powder is sold in white garbage bag. Another advantage of 8-balls for dealers is that users often end up using the drug in one session since the package design makes it impossible to reuse the wrapping once it is opened.

Drugs that are usually sold in liquid form include GHB and steroids. Look for small glass bottles or plastic squeeze bottles.

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Smoked Drugs

Drugs that are sold as powders are often smoked. For example, PCP, heroin, crack cocaine, and crystal meth require various devices used to hold the substance while it is being heated:

• metal foil (“foil method”)

• glass or metal smoking pipe (most common method)

• misc. items such as pop can, bottle cap, broken light bulb

The fumes are then inhaled directly from the pipe or, when foil or a broken light bulb is used, inhaled using a hollow hard plastic or glass tube. Crystal meth and crack cocaine does not burn on its own so a flame has to be held to the drug while it is being inhaled. The most common method of smoking is with a pipe. When cocaine is smoked it leaves a white residue (most noticeable where the vapour is delivered to the mouthpiece).

Refer to the Marijuana Cannabis section for information on marijuana, hashish, or hashish oil paraphernalia.

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Injected Drugs

Many drugs are injected, especially heroin. To prevent spillage, spoons are the primary device to hold the substance while it’s being heated. Disposable syringes are used to inject the liquid and often contain trace amounts of blood. Elastics, rubber ties, or surgical tubing are used to inflate the vein for easier injection. Users often wear long-sleeved shirts to cover track marks on arms.

Snorted Drugs

Powder can be “snorted” (inhaled) up the nostril using a thin straw, or using a tiny “coke” spoon to hold the powder under the nose. Another common method of snorting is to use a rolled up bill as a straw. Powder cocaine is often “cut” or formed into lines with a razor blade and then snorted on a mirror or glass surface (see photo on cover).

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Oral Drugs

Prescription drugs often come in capsule, tablet, or liquid (look for empty cough medicine bottles). Club drugs often come in tablets with a rough edge, an imprint (such as a Nike swoosh or butterfly) and look like children’s candy. Club drug users often experience involuntary jaw clenching, thus the need for baby soothers.

Follow Daniel Jordan, our director, for more information.