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Common Household Items of Abuse


household items teens use to hide drugs

Adolescence is a time for teenagers to explore life, test boundaries and experiment in order to help them figure out their place in the world. For many teens, the home environment is where they begin this period of experimentation. Coincidently, there are a variety of common household items that young people may abuse. For example, alcohol is widely available, and though it is legal for consumption by adults over the age of twenty-one, it is present in many American households and easily accessible to young people. It has been noted that alcohol is the most frequently used drug by teens in America. There are also many common household items that teens could use as drug paraphernalia to abuse drugs. 

Common Household Items Used As Drug Paraphernalia

Young people often become creative in repurposing items to conceal their drug use. Examples such as certain items (e.g. pill bottles, gum wrappers, felt-tip markers, lipstick dispensers, and/ or cigarette packages) can serve as adequate containers for substances (depending on the type of drug) that would provide a location for illicit substances to be hidden in plain sight. There are certain common household items that are specific to different drugs that could be used as drug paraphernalia, such as: 

  • Cocaine is an addictive and potent stimulant that can be ingested via the nasal cavity (snorting), inhaled (smoking), or intravenously (injected). Some examples of household items that could be used as cocaine paraphernalia include the following items:
    • Razor blades: used to break up the white powder and divide, or cut, it into lines to snort
    • Small mirrors: used as a flat surface with which to cut the lines of cocaine
    • Tiny spoons: used to snort the cocaine
    • Straws or rolled up paper: used to create a tube to snort the cocaine through
  • Inhalants are the vapors from toxic substances that are inhaled by the user and produce a chemical reaction in one’s body akin to the effects of anesthetics. Some examples of household items that could be used as paraphernalia for inhalants include the following items:
    • Aerosol cans
    • Rags for sniffing
    • Tubes of glue
    • Nozzles
    • Balloons
    • Bottles emitting chemical odors
  • Heroin is a highly addictive opioid drug. It can be ingested in several different ways including smoking, snorting, and/ or intravenously (injecting). The type of drug paraphernalia will differ based on the method of ingestion. Some examples of household items that could be used as heroin paraphernalia include the following items:
  • Tin foil
  • Small spoon or bottle caps
  • Cotton balls 
  • Rubber hose or shoelace
  • Lighter
  • Straw

Additional items that are found in most household and could be used to conceal one’s drug use could include: eye drops, mouthwash, mints, breath sprays, sunglasses, perfume and/ or cologne, and gum. There are many accouterments relied upon surrounding illicit substance use, and teenagers are highly resourceful beings.   

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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