We Have Beds Available! Call for Same Day Admission.855-722-6926

Recognizing Heroin Paraphernalia

Recognizing Heroin Paraphernalia

Heroin is a highly addictive street opioid that is illegal to use, buy, and possess. Heroin may be used in diverse ways to heighten the drug’s effects on the body. For instance, individuals who inject heroin intravenously usually experience a stronger high than those who smoke it, which is why injecting heroin is the most common way of using it. Since there are different ways to use the drug, there are various tools, called drug paraphernalia, used in the process. Below is a guide on heroin paraphernalia that can indicate whether someone needs opioid addiction treatment.   

What Are the Different Ways to Use Heroin? 

Heroin comes in several forms: a brown or white powder or a dark brown or black, tar-like substance called black tar heroin. There are three common ways to use heroin: smoking, injecting, and snorting it.  

People smoke heroin by heating the substance (usually using aluminum foil and spoons) and inhaling the vapor that it produces. Injecting heroin is done by first watering down the powder or black tar form of heroin and injecting it into the veins. This is the most common method of heroin use because it's fast-acting.  

Another common way that heroin is used is by snorting it. As with meth or cocaine, users may line up the powder version of the drug and inhale it through their noses. Regardless of the way heroin is used, overdose remains a constant risk.  

Ingesting too much of an opioid in one instant can lead to an overdose, which is often fatal in cases of opioid abuse. If you notice any signs of opioid overdoses – such as blue lips and face, trouble breathing, and being in and out of consciousness – call 9-1-1 immediately.  

Heroin Paraphernalia to Look Out For  

Most if not all drugs that are sold on the streets are mixed with additives, known as cutting agents, that are meant to make the drug weigh more and make its side effects stronger. This allows drug dealers to sell their products for a higher price at a lower production cost.  

Additionally, the more additives a drug has and the more forms it comes in, the more paraphernalia is needed to abuse it. Common types of heroin paraphernalia include:  

  • Hypodermic needle: Needles are used for injecting the liquefied form of heroin into a vein or sometimes a muscle. 
  • Spoons or bottle caps: These are vessels used to “cook” the drug, or turn tar, solidified, or powdered heroin into a liquid form for injection. 
  • Cotton balls: Cotton balls are used to strain liquid heroin and pull out chunks of impurities that did not melt. 
  • Tie-off: Tie-offs may include a shoelace, piece of rubber hose, or string that ties off a limb – usually an arm – and changes blood flow to make veins pop out to make it easier for the person to inject heroin. 
  • Aluminum foil: Foil is used as a surface to contain heroin while it is smoked or heated up for smoking. 
  • Lighter or candle: These are other heat sources placed under the aluminum foil, which causes the drug to liquefy and emit steam or smoke that is inhaled. 
  • Straw: Straws are used to inhale the smoke and steam of heated heroin as it wafts off the aluminum foil. 
  • Cigarette, rolling papers, or pipe: Heroin is placed in these tools so it can be smoked. 
  • Straw, rolled bill or paper, or other small tubes: These tools are used to snort heroin in its powder form. 
  • Razor blade and mirror: A razor blade may be used to cut up heroin in its powder form, while the mirror acts as a plate or surface. 

Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia 

Most states define possession of paraphernalia as a criminal offense associated with drugs. For example, Washington’s drug paraphernalia definition includes pipes, kits, scales, bowls, and syringes as indicative of substance abuse. What’s more, even if drugs are not found on the person or the premises, the possession of drug paraphernalia can be a criminal offense.  

As a Delaware drug rehab, we are aware of the various drug-related laws in our state. In Delaware, it is unlawful for any person to use, or possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia, such as the ones we listed above. According to chapter 47 of the Uniform Controlled Substances Acts, “It is unlawful for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, convert, manufacture, convey, sell, or offer for sale drug paraphernalia, knowing or under circumstances where one should reasonably know that it will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance.”1 

Start Heroin Addiction Treatment Today 

Opiate paraphernalia is a major red flag for opioid abuse. If you find any of the paraphernalia mentioned in your home, you may have a loved one who needs help. Our Delaware rehab center offers heroin addiction treatment that can make long-term recovery possible.  

Our substance-specific programs incorporate medically assisted detox and psychotherapy to help clients physically recover from cravings and withdrawals and learn healthier coping mechanisms and relapse prevention skills.  

For more information about our levels of addiction care, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 



  1. The Delaware Code Online - CHAPTER 47. Uniform Controlled Substances Act 


Related Reading:  

Heroin Addiction Hotline: Number, What to Ask, & More 

The Truth Behind Ray Charles’ Heroin Addiction 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Recognizing Heroin Paraphernalia
This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By using this website you agree to our Online Privacy Policy.
Learn more ›