What Is Drug Paraphernalia In North Carolina?

According to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, 14% of criminal incidents from 2019 to 2022 involved drugs. However, this does not mean they were all for drug possession, dealing or trafficking. They also may include possession of drug paraphernalia.

Drug paraphernalia refers to various tools, equipment and materials used in the process of manufacturing, using or distributing controlled substances. In North Carolina, possessing or distributing drug paraphernalia is illegal and subject to strict laws and penalties.

Definition of drug paraphernalia

In North Carolina, drug paraphernalia has a broad definition. It encompasses any equipment, product or material primarily for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing or concealing controlled substances.

Common examples

Drug paraphernalia includes items such as pipes, bongs, rolling papers, syringes and scales. Even seemingly innocent items, when associated with drug use, can become drug paraphernalia under the law.

The role of intent

Intent is an important element in identifying drug paraphernalia. To fall into this category, the person must intend to use the item with controlled substances. The presence of residue, drug-related products or drug-related advertising can contribute to establishing this intent.

Legal consequences

Possessing drug paraphernalia in North Carolina is a misdemeanor. The penalties can include fines, probation and imprisonment. Consequences often depend on the specific circumstances and the person’s criminal history.


For someone facing drug paraphernalia charges, a common defense is claiming that they had no intention to use the items in question for drugs or that the use had legal purposes. A person may also be able to defend with a claim of lack of knowledge or illegal search and seizure.

Drug paraphernalia in North Carolina encompasses a wide range of items associated with controlled substance use. It’s important to be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding drug paraphernalia, as violating them can result in criminal charges and legal consequences.

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