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Crack Paraphernalia: Tools of Trade for a Destructive Habit

Crack Pipe and a lighter

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Crack cocaine is a dangerous and addictive narcotic abused for the intense high it gives. The high has been likened to orgasm and has led many an individual to the sordid halls of a crack house. While some individuals may resort to snorting crack, most users will use crack paraphernalia to get the job done.
Smoking crack is a strong habit-forming process that involves multiple preparation steps before taking the hit. This process is often customized to the individual taking it. The person may also go as far as making a homemade crack pipe in a bid to personalize their harmful drag taking habit. In this article, we explore what crack paraphernalia, how to spot it, and how to help a crack abuser?

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Table of Contents

Crack Paraphernalia Overview

Spotting Crack Paraphernalia

Crack smoking using a straw.Smoking crack is as much a systemic habit as it is a chemical habit. In the same way, cigarette smokers get hooked on the process of smoking a cigarette; crack smokers also form habits around this process. The process, however, differs from that of cigarette smokers in that with this drug, a person may customize their smoking process to suit their needs. While such individuals will focus on getting the most out of each hit, they will not be particularly picky about how they get it.
The individual will resort to repurposing household items as crack paraphernalia. They may use a soda can or other container to create an improv bong or repurpose a TV antenna as a crack stem. In general, drug-taking tools utilized will always be focused on two things: burning and inhalation of fumes. Any item that aids in these two steps is considered a fair game in the quest for the next high.

Improv Smoking Items

When it comes to making crack smoking a habit, improvisation is a huge factor. Because there are no legal stores to buy readymade kits, most users resort to using things that can easily be purchased and repurposed as drug-taking tools.
Some examples include:

  • Love rose crack pipe: Love roses are a popular romantic gift consisting of corked glass tubing with a paper/plastic rose inside. This item is typically repurposed as a bong by discarding the rose inside and adding some chore.
  • Crack vial: Any small container with a cork may be used as an improv vial. Medicine vials, perfume sample containers, contact lenses storage vials and others may easily be used to store and transport the narcotic.
  • Crack needle: Crack users will use any needle available as a drug-taking tool. In many cases, such individuals may resort to stealing syringes from pharmacies, dispensaries or clinics.

Five Main Pieces of Traditional Paraphernalia

Smoking tools have various crack street names and vary greatly due to the amount of improvisation that goes into taking drugs in general. However, several traditional pieces of equipment come into use. These include:
Light bulbs: Light bulbs are a popular tool because the design functions as an ideal bong. By removing the filament structures of the bulb, the bulb can either be used this way with the individual inhaling the fumes directly or by adding a screw-on cap and straw to ensure no vapors escape.
Steel wool, faucet aerators, and Chore Boy: And individual intending to smoke the drug will want to maximize the vapors from the burning drug. Adding a filtering agent like what cigarettes have does the trick. Because the filter must withstand the heat, steel wool, faucet aerators and Chore Boy (a brand of steel wool) are typically used.
Tin foil and straws: These two items are used together to ensure the straw does not melt. Typically, an individual will cover a straw in tin foil and then apply a flame to the tin foil to ignite the drug. In many cases, this arrangement is used as a one-off remedy with the items getting ruined after a single use.
Aluminum cans: An aluminum can is depressed on one side and small holes punctured into the sad face. Crack rocks are then placed on the punctured surface and heated from beneath. The individual will then pull the fumes through the mouth of the can. In general, any container able to withstand heat c be used in this manner.
Glass pipes and stems: Whether a love rose pipe, a glass pipette from a lab or any other glass pipe, all these are candidates for use. Individuals will typically use these items together with a lighter, and some chore boy.

Dangers of Smoking Crack

Health Dangers

glass bongs for smoking crack close-up soft focus.Smoking the drug brings on an intense high that rewires the reward pathways of the brain. When this happens, the person’s ability to maintain a healthy balance in their reward mechanisms becomes destroyed, which is why smoking the narcotic is so dangerous. The need for drugs will overcome the natural inhibitions that a healthy individual has. A drug user will avoid eating, going to the hospital, engaging in personal hygiene and other activities leading to malnutrition and poor health. Other habits may also lead to infection with diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C.

Social Dangers

Individuals caught up in smoking the narcotic will often resort to vice-related activities like stealing, prostitution, and violence to get more drugs. Such individuals will also engage in drug dealing to support the habit. Social stigma is also a huge issue when it comes to smoking crack pipe.
Besides getting into trouble with the law for possession of a controlled substance, drug addiction carries with it social implications that make it hard for individuals to hold down steady jobs, get and keep proper housing, engage in relationships and so on.

Financial Dangers

When considering crack weight and prices, it is possible to see how the habit destroys the economic well-being of drug users. A drug user can use upwards of $500 a day to support the habit. By taking such a massive financial hit, individuals tend to clear their life savings in a matter of months. The next things to go are vehicles, valuables, and household items.
The drug habit can reduce a financially stable individual with a steady job to a level of utter destitution in less than a year. While such individuals understand the implications of their actions, they are powerless to make any better choices due to the strong grip of the addiction.
Questions like what does crack look like, how does it feel, and where can it be bought all lead down the same path of wanton destruction the drug brings about. Though starting off on the narcotic may be ecstatic and mind-blowing, the throes of addiction are the lowest level any individual can reach in life. Understanding what crack paraphernalia is and how to spot it is a sure way to steer clear of the habit or to initiate an intervention for an individual entrapped by the habit.

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If a crack paraphernalia is spotted with a loved ones, they may have a crack habit. Immediate intervention is the best thing one can do to help the affected individual get back to a path of health and wellbeing. Call the helpline today to speak with a knowledgeable individual on what one can do to help.

Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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  • bill
    The Drug of Lucifer his self
  • Tiffany
    My boyfriend is a crack smoker I learned this after some of my property started to disappear I have confronted him giving him a choice to get help while I support him through this time we both joined a church and things were good for months but now I have a feeling that he is back to his old ways based on his behavior and some actions. I have no real proof and thinks he sneaking it when I’m working for hours at a time in which he is okay once i get home. Don’t know what to do a at this point needs directions on this matter quick before i end this relationship completely
    • Sandy Scaringi
      Please go to your church and talk honestly with them so together you can confront your boyfriend. You need to be safe and he needs help!!
  • Mary
    My brother has been on and off crack for 10 years. He constantly lying to us. We don’t know how he is supporting his habits. I have lost things while he stayed with me. What can we do to get him back to normal?
  • Taylor
    Well i was lookin in my mother’s purse i found a crack pipee.. I don’t really wanna believe it that she’s involved with THAT drug but im not surprised either.. just shows that I Need to do better for myself
    • Sandy Scaringi
      Please get help for yourself! Signed: A broken hearted mom
  • Ryan
    Sweet heart im not saying what your mom is doing is right but take it from someone who has been on it for 5yrs its a very controlling habbit forming drug it can and will take your freedom of choice it will control u u never control it as long as u are using it
  • Andrea
    I live in estate on a corner house and my drive a garden serve as a dumping ground to people walking by, I’ve just found a broken crack pipe in my back garden that someone has thrown over my garden wall, my little boy was playing in the garden, without thinking I carefully picked it up and threw it in the bin, I’ve washed my hands but now panicking if I could have caught something?? Please help, I’m not very experienced with these kind of things??