RECREATIONAL DRUGS

NETHERLANDS & UNITED STATES
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The Netherlands and the United States:

blotter-ac-id.jpg
Sheet of LSD

1.     The Netherlands follows a policy of separating the market for illicit drugs. Cannabis is primarily purchased through coffee shops. Coffee shops offer no or few possibilities for purchasing illicit drugs other than cannabis. Thus The Netherlands achieve a separation of the soft drug market from the hard drugs market - and separation of the 'acceptable risk' drug user from the 'unacceptable risk' drug user.

Source: Abraham, Manja D., University of Amsterdam, Centre for Drug Research, Places of Drug Purchase in The Netherlands (Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, September 1999), pp. 1-5.

2.     Comparing Important Drug and Violence Indicators

Social Indicator

  Comparison Year  

  USA  

  Netherlands  

Lifetime prevalence of marijuana use (ages 12+)

2001

36.9% 1

17.0% 2

Past month prevalence of marijuana use (ages 12+)

2001

5.4% 1

3.0% 2

Lifetime prevalence of heroin use (ages 12+)

2001

1.4% 1

0.4% 2

Incarceration Rate per 100,000 population

2002

701 3

100 4

Per capita spending on criminal justice system (in Euros)

1998

€379 5

€223 5

Homicide rate per 100,000 population

Average 1999-2001

5.56 6

1.51 6

3.     Source 1:  US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Volume I. Summary of National Findings (Washington, DC: HHS, August 2002), p. 109, Table H.1.

4.     Source 2:  Trimbos Institute, "Report to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point, The Netherlands Drug Situation 2002" (Lisboa, Portugal: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, Nov. 2002), p. 28, Table 2.1.

5.     Source 3:  Walmsley, Roy, "World Prison Population List (fifth edition) (London, England: Research, Development and Statistics Directorate of the Home Office), Dec. 2003, p. 3, Table 2.

6.     Source 4:  Walmsley, Roy, "World Prison Population List (fifth edition) (London, England: Research, Development and Statistics Directorate of the Home Office), Dec. 2003, p. 5, Table 4.

7.     Source 5:  van Dijk, Frans & Jaap de Waard, "Legal infrastructure of the Netherlands in international perspective: Crime control" (Netherlands: Ministry of Justice, June 2000), p. 9, Table S.13.

8.     Source 6:  Barclay, Gordon, Cynthia Tavares, Sally Kenny, Arsalaan Siddique & Emma Wilby, "International comparisons of criminal justice statistics 2001," Issue 12/03 (London, England: Home Office Research, Development & Statistics Directorate, October 2003), p. 10, Table 1.1.

9.     "There were 2.4 drug-related deaths per million inhabitants in the Netherlands in 1995. In France this figure was 9.5, in Germany 20, in Sweden 23.5 and in Spain 27.1. According to the 1995 report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in Lisbon, the Dutch figures are the lowest in Europe. The Dutch AIDS prevention programme was equally successful. Europe-wide, an average of 39.2% of AIDS victims are intravenous drug-users. In the Netherlands, this percentage is as low as 10.5%."

Source: Netherlands Ministry of Justice, Fact Sheet: Dutch Drugs Policy, (Utrecht: Trimbos Institute, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, 1999), from the Netherlands Justice Ministry website at http://www.minjust.nl:8080/a_beleid/fact/cfact7.htm.

10. "The number of addicts in the Netherlands has been stable - at 25,000 - for many years. Expressed as a percentage of the population, this number is approximately the same as in Germany, Sweden and Belgium. There are very few young heroin addicts in the Netherlands, largely thanks to the policy of separating the users markets for hard and soft drugs. The average age of heroin addicts is now 36."

Source: Netherlands Ministry of Justice, Fact Sheet: Dutch Drugs Policy, (Utrecht: Trimbos Institute, Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, 1999), from the Netherlands Justice Ministry website at http://www.minjust.nl:8080/a_beleid/fact/cfact7.htm.

11. "Cannabis use among young people has also increased in most Western European countries and in the US. The rate of (cannabis) use among young people in the US is much higher than in the Netherlands, and Great Britain and Ireland also have relatively larger numbers of school students who use cannabis."

Source: Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Drug Policy in the Netherlands: Progress Report September 1997-September 1999, (The Hague: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, November 1999), p. 7.

12. "The figures for cannabis use among the general population reveal the same pictures. The Netherlands does not differ greatly from other European countries. In contrast, a comparison with the US shows a striking difference in this area: 32.9% of Americans aged 12 and above have experience with cannabis and 5.1% have used in the past month. These figures are twice as high as those in the Netherlands."

Source: Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Drug Policy in the Netherlands: Progress Report September 1997-September 1999, (The Hague: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, November 1999), pp. 7-8.

13. "The prevalence figures for cocaine use in the Netherlands do not differ greatly from those for other European countries. However, the discrepancy with the United States is very large. The percentage of the general population who have used cocaine at some point is 10.5% in the US, five times higher than in the Netherlands. The percentage who have used cocaine in the past month is 0.7% in the US, compared with 0.2% in the Netherlands.*"

Source: Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, Drug Policy in the Netherlands: Progress Report September 1997-September 1999, (The Hague: Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, November 1999), p. 6. The report notes "*The figures quoted in this paragraph for drug use in the US are taken from the National Household Survey 1997, SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, Washington, DC".

14. According to a report in the British Medical Journal in September of 2000, "Cannabis use among Dutch schoolchildren aged 10-18 years has fallen for the first time in 16 years, a national survey of risk behaviour among 10,000 young people has shown."r The story notes that according to Trimbos, the Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction, "about one in five young people had used cannabis at some point in their lives but less than a tenth had used it in the previous four weeks ("current users")."r

Source: Sheldon, Tony, "Cannabis use falls among Dutch youth," British Medical Journal (London, England: September 16, 2000), vol. 321, p. 655.

For more information, check out Drug War Facts: International Policies & Statistics.


Copyright 2000-2005, Common Sense for Drug Policy
Updated: Tuesday, 10-Feb-2004 09:18:50 PST   ~   Accessed: 59385 times

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