Illicit Drugs

The Law and Illicit Drugs

The use and sale of illicit drugs occurs in many licensed businesses. Most drug laws are felonies (being under the influence, possession, possession for sale, and sales), which are crimes punishable by imprisonment in State prison. Illicit drug activity hurts your business’ reputation and increases the risk of injury and death due to fights, assaults and driving under the influence.

Selling Narcotics on Premises

The law says ABC shall revoke a license if a retail licensee has knowingly permitted the illegal sale, or negotiations for such sales, of narcotics or dangerous drugs upon his or her licensed premises. (Section 24200.5(a) Business and Professions Code)

A licensee has a general affirmative duty to maintain a lawful establishment. That duty imposes an obligation on the licensee to be diligent in anticipation of reasonable possible unlawful activity, and to instruct employees accordingly.  Once a licensee knows of a particular violation of law, that duty becomes specific and focuses on the elimination of the violation. Failure to prevent the problem from recurring, once the licensee knows of it, is to “permit” it by failure to take preventive action.

ABC will generally not hold a licensee liable when the licensee (1) does not reasonably know of the illegal activity (for example, surreptitious transactions between customers not involving the licensee or employee); and (2) has taken all available reasonable steps to prevent drug activity. Certain measures should be taken by all licensees to detect drug activity.

Asset Forfeiture of License

The law also says that all assets, including the ABC license, may be seized and sold after 10 days’ notice if the licensee is directly involved in the illicit drug activity. (Section 25375 Business and Professions Code).

Controlled Substances Investigations

The law says:

The Department may not open or add an entry to a file or initiate an investigation of a license or suspend or revoke a license (a) solely because the licensee or an agent acting on behalf of the licensee has reported to a State or local law enforcement agency that suspected controlled substance violations have taken place on the licensed premises, or (b) solely based on activities constituting violations described in such a report, unless the violations reported occurred with the actual knowledge and willful consent of the licensee. (Section 24202(b) Business and Professions Code)

To guard against losing the ABC license, licensees should have a “zero tolerance” policy for drug activity. This means taking active steps to prevent it inside and outside the business.

Drug Recognition

The number of drugs and drug combinations that are being used and sold in the workplace is staggering. For licensees, managers and employees, a basic knowledge of drugs used and sold is needed to prevent illegal activity.

Ketamine

Slang Terms

  • Cat, K
  • super K
  • Special K
  • God
  • Jet
  • Honey Oil
  • Blast, Gas
  • bump
  • cat valium
  • been rowing

Description

  • “club drug”
  • prescription anesthetic with hallucinogenic properties
  • marketed for human use, but primarily for veterinary use
  • clear liquid or white crystal powder form

Common Packaging

  • bindles
  • small plastic ziplock baggies
  • aluminum foil
  • vials
  • dosed cigarettes
  • dosed marijuana joints

Type of Use

  • inhaled
  • smoked
  • taken orally or rectally

Signs and Symptoms of Use

  • sweating
  • euphoria
  • slow/slurred speech
  • disorientation
  • violence
  • blank stare
  • anxiety
  • elevated body temperature
  • elevated vitals
  • delusions
  • pain relief
  • loss of muscle coordination
  • agitation
  • insomnia
  • sleepy appearance
  • confusion
  • excess strength
  • anesthesia
  • intoxication
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • muscle rigidity

Heroin

Slang Terms

  • Yale
  • whitey
  • chiva
  • H
  • china white
  • mexican brown
  • horse
  • unk
  • china
  • tar
  • brown stone
  • smack
  • shit
  • stuff
  • tango
  • cash
  • hop
  • water
  • gooball
  • Julie
  • boy
  • Harry
  • goma
  • gum ball

Description

  • varies in appearance from a white to a dark brown powder
  • texture varies from a fine, granular to a hard, rock-like substance

Common Packaging

  • cellophane tied in a knot or in very small balloons

Type of Use

  • normally injected, but can be inhaled or smoked

Signs and Symptoms of Use

  • slows down the body’s functions, causing drowsiness
  • user may scratch frequently or have droopy eyelids

Marijuana

Slang Terms

  • Bomb
  • Al Green
  • bud buddha
  • pot
  • mary jane
  • grass
  • weed
  • mota
  • cake
  • brownie
  • joint
  • reefer
  • chronic
  • roach
  • skunk
  • dang
  • nugs
  • papalolo
  • broccoli
  • natural
  • doobie
  • celery
  • produce
  • blunts
  • froggie
  • hep
  • leaf
  • gonja
  • hay
  • KGB-killer
  • green  bud,
  • kaya
  • wag
  • kind

Description

  • can be brown or greenish in appearance
  • emits a pungent, sweet odor when burned

Common Packaging

  • plastic baggies

Type of Use

  • usually smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes

Signs and Symptoms of Use

  • speeds up the heart rate
  • interferes with the attention and coordination process

Gamma hydroxy butyrate

Slang Terms

  • GHB
  • G
  • Liquid X
  • Liquid Ecstasy
  • Grievous Bodily Harm
  • Georgia Home Boy
  • Scoop
  • Great Hormones at Bedtime
  • Water
  • Everclear
  • Aminos

Description

  • “club drug”
  • a central nervous system depressant and a hypnotic used with alcohol or other drugs

Common Packaging

  • usually sold as an odorless, colorless liquid in spring water bottles or as a powder and mixed with beverages
  • sometimes packaged in film canisters or other liquid containers

Type of Use

  • linked with DUI
  • sexual assault and overdoses
  • especially at clubs and “rave” parties

Signs and Symptoms of Use

  • side effects from ingested doses include high levels  of  intoxication, nausea, coma  (sometimes  abrupt  and  profound),  uncontrollable  seizures  and  respiratory depression
  • symptoms at lower levels of intake and as impact builds are comparable to alcohol ingestion/intoxication
  • aggression and violence can result in some people
  • one-time use of a small quantity, especially when mixed with alcohol or other drugs, represents a stunning risk of death
  • much of the information on the internet about this drug is dangerous and invalid

Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)

Slang Terms

  • Roofies
  • roches
  • ruffies
  • ropies
  • R-2
  • R-1
  • the forget-me pill

Description

  • “club drug”
  • a white tablet sedative ten times more powerful than Valium
  • when mixed with alcohol, narcotics or other central nervous system depressants, use can be lethal

Common Packaging

  • small plastic baggies

Types of Use

  • most commonly used by teenagers and young adults as an “alcohol extender” and disinhibiting agent, most often in combination with beer
  • sometimes used by individuals who wish to commit sexual assault

Signs and Symptoms of Use

  • when dropped in a drink, it can cause the victim to pass out and unable to remember what happened
  • a victim may experience the equivalent of an “alcoholic black out” and may be up and functioning at least part of the time (leaving the bar with a stranger, but not really in mental control) with potentially no recall for the 8 to 12 hours of impact

Methamphetamine

Slang Terms

  • C rank
  • crystal
  • tweek
  • speed
  • go
  • go-fast
  • crystal meth
  • meth
  • ice
  • Annie
  • shammu
  • diamonds
  • zip
  • glass
  • water
  • dinner
  • chicken
  • griddle
  • CR
  • chowder
  • clink
  • cloud

Description

  • usually a white or beige crystalline powder

Common Packaging

  • small paper bindles
  • small glass vials, zip-lock baggies or cellophane tied in a knot

Type of Use

  • can be inhaled or injected

Signs and Symptoms of Use

  • drug speeds up the body’s functions, causing the user to become hyperactive, talkative, emotionally excited, or  paranoid

Cocaine

Slang Terms

  • Soda
  • Peruvian nose flute
  • rock
  • cane
  • snow
  • crack
  • brokane
  • yeah-ho
  • snaps
  • cavy­ short for caviar or rich man’s drug
  • nose candy
  • stuff
  • snuff
  • blow
  • good time
  • snow flake
  • powder
  • dove
  • hubba
  • marching powder
  • ice cream
  • cocoa
  • dust
  • soda
  • svodka
  • white horse
  • what’s the issue
  • donkey’s dust
  • bubble gum
  • strawberry
  • white lady
  • CK
  • devil’s dandruff

Description

  • white crystalline or fluffy powder

Common Packaging

  • small paper bindles
  • small glass vials
  • zip-lock baggies or cellophane tied in a knot

Type of Use

  • inhaled or smoked

Signs and Symptoms of Use

  • speeds up the body’s functions, causing the user to become hyperactive, talkative, or emotionally excited

Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA)

Slang Terms

  • X
  • E
  • beans
  • bombs
  • E-bombs
  • roll
  • the hug drug
  • the practice of taking ecstasy is referred to as “rolling”

Description

  • “club drug”
  • synthetic, psychoactive substance with stimulant and mild hallucinogenic properties
  • users are predominantly adolescents and young adults

Common Packaging

  • pills are packaged in various ways: in small plastic zipper bags or pill bottles

Type of Use

  • most often used in pill form

Signs and Symptoms of Use

  • reduced inhibitions
  • sweating
  • elevated vitals
  • happy & friendly
  • continuous speech
  • tremors
  • heightening of all senses
  • grinding teeth
  • use of glow sticks
  • laser light shows
  • sucking on pacifiers
  • lollipops
  • massaging one another

Drug Paraphernalia

Drug paraphernalia is any product that a person may use  for  packaging, storing,  using,  preparing or selling illegal drugs. This includes, but is  not  limited to scales and balances, diluents and adulterants, capsules, balloons, envelopes, paper bindles, hypodermic syringes and needles, pipes, roach clips, and cigarette papers.

Sale of Drug Paraphernalia

It is a misdemeanor crime for a licensee or a licensee’s employee to sell any drug paraphernalia when they know or reasonably should know that the customer is going to use the product for any purpose involving an illegal drug. A licensee is presumed  to have knowledge if:  ABC or any other state or local law enforcement agency notifies the licensee in writing (see Form ABC-546-A). (Sections 11014.5, 11364.5, l 1364.7(a) and 24200.6 Health & Safety Code)

Notice to Licensees Concerning Drug Paraphernalia Under Section 24200.6 Business & Professions Code

Selling drug paraphernalia is a crime and could result in your arrest and the loss of your ABC license. A new  law, Section  24200.6  of  the  Business and  Professions  Code, took effect  January 1, 2003. It says that you – or your agent – know that an item is drug paraphernalia if  ABC or any other state or local law enforcement agency notifies you in writing that something is commonly sold or marketed as drug paraphernalia. To protect yourself and your ABC license, you should immediately remove any items of drug paraphernalia from your store.

The following items, either alone or in combination, are commonly sold or marketed as drug paraphernalia. Due to the ever-changing nature of illegal drug activity and the types of drug paraphernalia being used, there may be other items not listed below:

  • Scales and balances for weighing drugs
  • Diluents and adulterants, such as quinine hydrochloride,  mannitol,  mannite, dextrose, and lactose for cutting illegal drugs
  • Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used for compounding illegal drugs
  • Capsules, balloon s, envelopes, and other containers for packaging small quantities of illegal drugs. Includes miniature plastic baggies designed to hold jewelry or beads, but also used to hold illegal drugs
  • Containers and other objects for storing or concealing illegal drugs
  • Hypodermic syringes, needles, and other items for injecting illegal drugs into the human body. These are intended for diabetics, but are drug paraphernalia when made available to other customers
  • Pipes made out of metal, wood, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or  ceramic.  They may be with or without screens. Includes glass tubes commonly marketed as a bud vase or air freshener. Also includes colorful marking pens which, when taken apart, contain a pipe that can be used for smoking crack cocaine.
  • Pipe screens
  • Water pipes – also called “bongs”
  • Roach clips (small metal clips used to hold burning material such as a marijuana cigarette)
  • Miniature cocaine spoons and cocaine vial
  • A wiry sponge or scouring pad, made for cleaning, but when cut into pieces, is used as a filter for smoking crack cocaine
  • Drug “kits.” Some stores sell a number of items packaged together, such as a miniature flower vial (see photo below), together with chopped-up pieces of wiry sponge and butane lighter.

Example of Drug Paraphernalia: “Rose Tube,” “Love Rose” or “Stem”

Example of Drug Paraphernalia: "Rose Tube," "Love Rose" or "Stem"

This glass tube (pictured at the left) is used as a crack cocaine pipe. It contains  a novelty-type item such as a miniature rose. Suppliers may tell you the tube is a gift item. However, drug users remove the rose or other contents, insert a piece of wiry sponge or scouring pad as a filter, and use it to smoke crack cocaine. The tubes are commonly displayed in a box (pictured at the right).

This form shall be deemed official notice to you under Section 24200.6 of the Business & Professions Code.

This law does not preempt local ordinances that prohibit drug paraphernalia sales.

ABC Investigators and local law enforcement officers are actively investigating the sale of drug paraphernalia (Section 11364.7 of the Health and Safety Code).

Questions about this notice should be directed to your local ABC District Office.

Signs of Illicit Drug Activity

The following are some signs that illegal drug activity may be occurring in your licensed establishment:

  • Presence of drug paraphernalia (syringes, pipes, empty baggies, residues, etc.)
  • Customers asking for a particular person. For example, a person comes in, asks for Joe, and leaves if Joe is not there. The person wants to know when Joe will be in or what days and times Joe is usually there. The person tells you to tell Joe that “I was looking for him”. Many people come in looking for Joe
  • Customer’s actions appear unusual. For example, they come in, look around, and leave without buying a drink (they may be looking for their source). They come in, go directly to a certain person (employee or customer), talk for a short time and leave, usually without buying a drink
  • Excessive restroom traffic
  • Customers who enter and exit the establishment often
  • Customers who take handfuls of matchbooks
  • Hand-to-hand exchanges between customers (money or drugs)
  • Loitering in parking lot or in front of the establishment (waiting to connect with buyer or seller)                                                                                                               27

Preventing Illicit Drug Activity

  • Be alert for “suspect” customers
  • Contact management or security when you come across drug activity. Don’t touch or threaten the customer. Ask them to leave. State your policy, “We don’t allow that in here.”
  • Check restrooms periodically
  • Look for drug paraphernalia
  • Watch secluded or shielded areas more carefully (pool table areas, video areas, conversation pits, tables in the corner or around the dance floor)
  • Keep matches behind the bar or counter to make them less accessible (people use matchbooks to conceal drugs)
  • Listen to what is being said around you. You may overhear a sale being made
  • Slow down and watch what is going on
  • Develop a rapport with your local law enforcement agency. ABC expects you to cooperate with them
  • Have good communication among all employees
  • Develop a reputation of absolute intolerance. Refuse admittance to any customer who even asks about drugs
  • Post signs prohibiting drug activity. Post at all entrances, in rest rooms, near the cash register and in the parking lot (see ABC-617, Signage Ideas for Licensees)
  • Hire more employees and screen them well. Check their references before hiring. Hire everyone on a probationary basis
  • Increasing lighting in the establishment and/or parking lot
  • Keep window clear so you can see what is going on outside
  • Hire security guards