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What is 'Drug Paraphernalia?'

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There is almost an endless list of what can be determined to be drug paraphernalia.  The crucial aspect is that there be some relationship between the item and a controlled substance.

By Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Drug Defense Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

The Drug Paraphernalia Act, 35 P.S. § 780-102(b), provides a three-part definition of the term "drug paraphernalia."

The Definition of 'Drug Paraphernalia':

Drug paraphernalia is defined generally as all equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of the Act.

It gives some examples of 'drug paraphernalia':

  • Kits designed for cultivating any species of plant that is a controlled substance or from which such a substance can be derived or for manufacturing, converting, or processing controlled substance;
  • testing equipment,
  • scales and balances,
  • mixing devices,
  • packaging materials,
  • pipes, and other devices used for inhaling or ingesting certain drugs, and the like.

Finally, the Act enumerates several factors to be considered in determining whether or not an item is drug paraphernalia:

  • statements by an owner or by anyone in control of the object concerning its use;
  • prior convictions, if any, of an owner, or of anyone in control of the object, under any state or federal law relating to any controlled substance;
  • the proximity of the object, in time and space, to a direct violation of the Act;
  • the proximity of the object to controlled substances;
  • the existence of any residue of controlled substances on the object;
  • direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of an owner or of anyone in control of the object to deliver it to persons who he or she knows, or should reasonably know, intend to use the object to facilitate a violation of the Act;
  • instructions, oral or written, provided with the object concerning its use;
  • descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict its use;
  • national and local advertising concerning its use;
  • the manner in which the object is displayed for sale;
  • whether the owner, or anyone in control of the object, is a legitimate supplier of like or related items to the community, such as a licensed distributor or dealer of tobacco products;
  • direct or circumstantial evidence of the ratio of sales of the objects to the total sales of the business enterprise;
  • the existence and scope of legitimate uses for the object in the community; and
  • expert testimony concerning its use.

A special note about drug paraphernalia:

The Act expressly states that the innocence of an owner or of anyone in control of an object as to a direct violation of the Act should not prevent a finding that the object is intended for use or designed for use as drug paraphernalia.  An article cannot be classified as drug paraphernalia solely on the basis of its physical characteristics.

The Drug Act identifies 'drug paraphernalia' definition, example and by factors that tend to show the item is related to a controlled substance.  If you've been arrested, stopped, detained or frisked and drug paraphernalia has been found, you should contact an attorney to protect your rights.  You may call Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.

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