Drug Paraphernalia in New Jersey

In 2017, over 70,000 people in the U.S. died from drug overdoses. Between 1999 and 2017 the annual number of heroin-related drug overdoses surged from 1,960 to 15,482 in the U.S. In 2018, New Jersey reported more than 3,100 fatal drug overdoses. This represents the fourth consecutive year with a record number of these types of deaths.

The New Jersey Substance Abuse Monitoring System reported that roughly 82,644 people in the state were admitted to a drug treatment facility in 2018. The following chart represents a breakdown of the most commonly abused drugs among those individuals.




Opioids (Other than heroin)









Drug Paraphernalia (2C:36-1)

The term drug paraphernalia refers to tools, devices, and materials used for “introducing” a controlled substance into the human body. It may refer to something such as a kit that is used to manufacture, cultivate, or otherwise process drugs. Paraphernalia may be used to prepare, package, or otherwise hold drugs. Often it is a device that allows a drug to be ingested or inhaled.

Paraphernalia may be a device used to measure or weigh a drug such as a scale. Tools used to prepare a controlled substance including containers or devices for mixing or blending are forms of drug paraphernalia. Objects that are used to conceal the existence of drugs are another type.

Common Drug Paraphernalia

  • Pipes made of metal, wood, glass, or other materials
  • Water pipes or bongs
  • Small clips used for smoking marijuana or other burning substances
  • Tanks or containers that contain nitrous oxide
  • Bags or balloons that are used for inhaling chemicals

When assessing whether an object is actually drug paraphernalia, some of the following factors may be considered:

  • If the object was somehow contained together with drugs
  • Whether there is any drug residue that exists
  • If the object is accompanied by written materials or instructions that reference drug usage
  • If the object is accompanied by any advertising material or other promotional material that suggests it is for drug use
  • Any testimony from an expert explaining the purpose of the object

Use or Possession With Intent to Use Drug Paraphernalia (2C:36-2)

An individual that uses drug paraphernalia or has it in their possession with intent to use it may be charged with a disorderly person offense. This applies to any object that allows humans to abuse controlled substances in some manner.

Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Distribute (2C:36-3)

This is an offense that involves possessing drug paraphernalia with intent to “distribute, dispense, or manufacture.” This applies to any object that allows humans to abuse controlled substances in some manner. It is a crime of the fourth degree.

Advertising to Promote (2C:36-4)

This is an offense that is committed by advertising to sell drug paraphernalia. This may be committed by promotion using a publication such as a newspaper or a magazine. This is charged as a fourth-degree offense.

Delivering to a Minor (2C:36-5)

This is an offense that is committed by an adult who delivers drug paraphernalia to a minor. It may be charged as a third-degree offense. 

Hypodermic Needles or Syringes (2C:36-6)

It is against the law to possess or to have possession with intent to use a hypodermic needle, syringe, or another device used for abusing controlled substances. These types of devices are used for abusing intravenous drugs such as heroin. The individual may be charged with a disorderly person offense.

It is not a crime to possess a hypodermic needle or syringe if it has been legally prescribed by a medical provider. The law is also not applicable when possessed by a medical provider such as a physician, dentist, or nurse. The same applies to those who are dealers of supplies that are used for medical purposes.

Discarding Hypodermic Needle or Syringe (2C:36-6.1)

The law requires that hypodermic needles or syringes be properly disposed of. These items may not be simply discarded in with the regular trash unless they have been destroyed. The term destroyed means that “the needle is broken from the hub or mangled” or “the plunger and barrel are melted.”

Destruction of the item is not necessary if it is disposed of in a properly designated container that is approved by the Department of Environmental Protection or Department of Health. Any individual that fails to adhere to these requirements may be charged with a petty disorderly person offense.

Sale of Hypodermic Needles and Syringes (2C:36-6.2)

The sale of hypodermic needles and syringes is restricted to licensed pharmacies. They are to be sold only to adults that provide proper photo identification. The pharmacy is required to keep their inventory of these products behind the counter. The pharmacy is also required to provide buyers with instructions regarding proper disposal and contact information for those seeking assistance with substance abuse. These violations are charged as disorderly person offenses.

Defrauding a Drug Test (2C:36-10)

It is a crime of the fourth degree to participate in an activity that seeks to “defraud the administration of a drug test.” One way the crime may be committed is by submitting a sample that was given by another person. This crime involves any acts that are intended to avoid detection of a controlled substance in a drug test. The following acts are charged as third-degree offenses:

  • Advertising to sell, manufacturing, or otherwise providing someone with material or device that is used to defraud the drug testing process.
  • Providing urine for someone who intends to defraud a drug test.
  • Any acts that attempt to defraud a drug test that is conducted for purposes of employment in occupations such as a member of law enforcement, a school bus driver, emergency responder, etc.
  • Any acts that attempt to defraud a drug test that is conducted for those on parole, probation, or another form of community supervision.

Penalties for Offenses

  • First Degree: Incarceration of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $200,000
  • Second Degree: Incarceration of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $150,000
  • Third Degree: Incarceration of up to 5 years and a fine of up to $15,000
  • Fourth Degree: Incarceration of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Disorderly Person Offense: Incarceration of up to six months and a fine of up to $1,000
  • Petty Disorderly Person Offense: A fine of up to $500

Defense Attorney for Allegations Related to Drug Paraphernalia

Have you been accused of unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia or another drug-related offense? Attorney Joseph D. Lento has been representing clients in these types of cases for many years. For a complimentary case evaluation, contact the office at (888) 535-3686 today.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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