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Law enforcement is not only interested in whether you have illegal drugs like heroin in your possession. They may also charge you with a crime if you possess an item the law considers to be drug paraphernalia. Having one or more of these items could subject you to arrest and a possible misdemeanor charge.

Drug paraphernalia laws vary by state. Georgia law defines paraphernalia by its intended function. The main question is whether you intended to use an item in association with drugs even if the item has a legitimate function.

Using items to ingest drugs

People commonly think of paraphernalia as a way to ingest drugs. Bongs, pipes, syringes and rolling papers are a few common examples. State law criminalizes devices as paraphernalia if someone uses them to ingest, inhale, inject or in any fashion introduce an illegal controlled substance into the body. Even a spoon may qualify if someone uses it to prepare heroin.

Items that cultivate drugs

Devices may also count as drug paraphernalia if a person uses them to make drugs in the first place. This can include the planting and harvesting of plants that produce controlled substances. Other kinds of paraphernalia can refine and process drugs. Georgia law also states that devices that convert, produce, process or analyze controlled substances count as paraphernalia.

Using items for drug packaging

Once a person has cultivated illegal drugs, they may store them away for transport or for personal use. Georgia law specifically outlaws the packaging, repackaging, containing or storing of illegal drugs. A box or paper package that contains heroin would likely qualify as paraphernalia. The law also criminalizes efforts to use a container to hide or conceal drugs.