Plastic is on the front lines in the war on drugs. Since plastic is the primary material in many of the items used by drug dealers and junkies, it would seem simple enough to enact laws to ban items connected with drug abuse as a way of striking at the abusers. An attempt to ban 1-inch-square plastic bags (reported Jan. 15 in Plastics News) because they package crack cocaine makes as much sense as banning syringes because heroin addicts use them.
Drug dealers appear to be an innovative group, always finding ways to skirt the law. Banning the bags won't hurt the dealer.
I remember a few years ago when lawmakers tried to add tiny plastic spoons to the list of drug paraphernalia that could be confiscated as proof of illegal activity. That would have been a shame because I really enjoy my free samples of ice cream the folks at Baskin Robbins provide in those little, pink spoons. Although they are larger than cocaine spoons, the sample spoons still would have fallen under thedrug paraphernalia category.
Let's face it, the ice cream has a strange taste when eaten off of a wooden spoon. Aside from adding the taste of sawdust to the ice cream, I always had this fear of getting a splinter in my lip. So, I was happy when tiny plastic spoons were given a reprieve.
Admittedly, some molders do make drug paraphernalia. I once worked for an injection molder that made and assembled parts for ``spice'' kits. The firm produced little scales, sifters and grinders, and packaged them for drop shipment to our customer's customers.
It was a huge business. Innocent as I was, I actually believed that women across America were buying the kits to grind, sift and weigh out cinnamon and nutmeg for pumpkin pies.
Those kits weren't going to Williams-Sonoma or other retailers of kitchen gadgets, but to places with names that reminded me of bumper stickers seen on Volkswagen vans in 1969.
The molder finally got rid of that business for more legitimate work. Good thing, too, because in 1989 the federal drug enforcement guys raided the molder that took that business, confiscating molds, finished goods and records. No doubt, those items were used for the preparation of various illegal substances.
But somewhere we have to draw the line. We can't ban common items just because some people use them for illicit purposes. And we can't ban plastic bags. Let's remember who the target is in this war on drugs.
Goldsberry is a Plastics News correspondent based in Phoenix.