Drug dealers will do anything to manipulate your teen.

Teensavers was alerted to helpful hints from the United Prevention people, and their message conveys from DEA information about drug paraphernalia.

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Their alert said:

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), drug paraphernalia are often marketed specifically to youth with colorful logos, celebrity pictures and fun designs. The items are meant to look harmless and disguise the dangers of taking controlled substances, and some items can even be found at the mall. Being aware of trendy drug items is the first step when staying involved as a parent.

Parents often have an idea if their child is using drugs based on physical and emotional signs (visit http://www.theantidrug.com for more information on what to look for), but learning what paraphernalia are used to engage in drug-related activities and how to identify these items can help parents understand even more. “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,” stated the DEA.

Drug paraphernalia generally falls into two categories. User-specific products include certain pipes, smoking masks, bongs, cocaine freebase kits, marijuana grow kits, roach clips and items such as hollowed out soda cans 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 including scales, vials and baggies.

Under the Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute, which is part of the Controlled Substances Act, it is illegal to possess, sell, transport, import or

export drug paraphernalia, but with the popularity and ease of use of the Internet, law enforcement face another challenge. Drug paraphernalia pushers have become businessmen and women on the Internet, selling their items worldwide. To cut down on the availability online, in 2003 the government initiated Operation Pipedreams, a national sweep that shut down some Internet sites selling drug paraphernalia. Eighteen Internet companies targeted accounted for more than a quarter of a billion dollars in retail drug paraphernalia sales annually. While the sweep worked, over the years sites have continued to pop up, making it convenient for teens to skirt around parents to make their purchases.

Because drug paraphernalia is often marketed specifically to youth with colorful logos, celebrity pictures and designs, it is important for parents to know what to look for. The items are meant to look harmless and give the impression that the dangers of taking controlled substances are not only OK, but fun. As a new trend, younger teens might be tempted to purchases the items to appear cool.

The Unified Prevention! (UP!) Coalition for a Drug-Free Doña Ana County, an initiative of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, is dedicated to ending the cycle of drug abuse in southern New Mexico. For more information on teens and drug use, or to get involved in the collation, call (575) 521-4794. A Community that’s Aware is a Community that Cares is submitted by Charlotte Tallman, media campaign coordinator for the Unified Prevention! (UP!) Coalition for a Drug-Free Doña Ana County, an initiative of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico.

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