One of the most often asked questions to task force investigators by teachers, parents and other concerned individuals is, What does that look like?.
We have displayed photographs and descriptions of the drugs and paraphernalia most common to our area.
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Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant that directly affects the brain. Cocaine is not a new drug. In fact, it is one of the oldest known drugs. The pure chemical, cocaine hydrochloride, has been an abused substance for more than 100 years, and coca leaves, the source of cocaine, have been ingested for thousands of years.
Pure cocaine was first extracted from the leaf of the Erythroxylon coca bush, which grows primarily in Peru and Bolivia, in the mid-19th century. In the early 1900s, it became the main stimulant drug used in most of the tonics/elixirs that were developed to treat a wide variety of illnesses.
Cocaine abuse has a long history and is rooted into the drug culture in the U.S. It is an intense euphoric drug with strong addictive potential. With the increase in purity, the advent of the free-base form of the cocaine ("crack"), and its easy availability on the street, cocaine continues to burden both the law enforcement and health care systems in America.
Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. A dry, shredded green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves of the plant Cannabis sativa, it usually is smoked as a cigarette (joint, nail), or in a pipe (bong). It also is smoked in blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana, often in combination with another drug. It might also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea. As a more concentrated, resinous form it is called hashish and, as a sticky black liquid, hash oil. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). The membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain contain protein receptors that bind to THC. Once securely in place, THC kicks off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high that users experience when they smoke marijuana.
Today, methamphetamine is second only to alcohol and marijuana as the drug used most frequently in many Western and Midwestern states. Seizures of dangerous laboratory materials have increased dramatically—in some states, fivefold. In response, many special task forces and local and Federal initiatives have been developed to target methamphetamine production and use. Legislation and negotiation with earlier source areas for precursor substances have also reduced the availability of the raw materials needed to make the drug.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug with potent central nervous system stimulant properties. In the 1960s, methamphetamine pharmaceutical products were widely available and extensively diverted and abused. The 1971 placement of methamphetamine into Schedule II of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) and the removal of methamphetamine injectable formulations from the United States market, combined with a better appreciation for its high abuse potential, led to a drastic reduction in the abuse of this drug. However, a resurgence of methamphetamine abuse occurred in the 1980s and it is currently considered a major drug of abuse. The widespread availability of methamphetamine today is largely fueled by illicit production in large and small clandestine laboratories throughout the United States and illegal production and importation from Mexico. In some areas of the country (especially on the West Coast), methamphetamine abuse has outpaced both heroin and cocaine.
The drug has limited medical uses for the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorders, and obesity.
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What is drug paraphernalia?
Drug paraphernalia is any legitimate equipment, product, or material that is modified for making, using, or concealing illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine. Drug paraphernalia generally falls into two categories:
User-specific products are marketed to drug users to assist them in taking or concealing illegal drugs. These products include certain pipes, smoking masks, bongs, cocaine freebase kits, marijuana grow kits, roach clips, and items such as hollowed out cosmetic cases or fake pagers used to conceal illegal drugs.
Dealer-specific products are used by drug traffickers for preparing illegal drugs for distribution at the street level. Items such as scales, vials, and baggies fall into this category. Drug paraphernalia does not include any items traditionally used with tobacco, like pipes and rolling papers.