Local News

Items Resembling Drug Paraphernalia Sold at Convenience Store

Posted June 2, 1998

— Typically, people go to a convenience store for soda, beer, or a bag of chips, but in some stores, the shelves are stocked with something a little more controversial: drug paraphernalia.

The item in question isn't sold as a drug pipe. It is sold as a tiny rose in a glass tube, which is perfectly legal. The problem is, it is also perfect for use in the very illegal activity of smoking crack cocaine

It's only a few inches long, but Durham's Partners Against Crime says the tube causes big problems. They say the thin, glass tubes are easily converted to crack pipes. The citizens' group is angry with many convenience store owners who sell them as novelty items in some of Durham's most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

"It basically is drug paraphernalia that's being sold over the counter in our neighborhoods," says Nellie Jones of PAC. "Neighborhoods that are vulnerable to the crime and the drug activity that's going on ... this just promotes it."

When WRAL-TV5'sMark Robertstried to purchase such items, reactions varied from store to store in Northeast Durham. In one store, the owner said he didn't want to sell one of the tubes to a tv reporter. Another store refused to sell one to WRAL Photographer, Ed Wilson, but he was able to buy one at a third store.

When Roberts and Wilson returned to the store with their camera, the clerk would not discuss the items for sale.

Neighboring businesses are concerned about such sales.

Durham police have their own perspective on the tubes. They say they know the tubes can be and are used as crack pipes, but they say there are hundreds of legally available products that can be easily adapted into drub pipes. They say there is nothing they can legally do about these items.


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