Internationalt Nyt

Transscript of radio show discussing Dutch vs US Drugs policy March 2000

Jeg har fått denne engelske oversettelsen av et TV program om Nederlandsk narkotikapolitikk som jeg sender nettverket.
—–Opprinnelig melding—–
Fra: Rolf Bromme []
Sendt: 29. mars 2000 17:21
Emne: Fwd: The failure of 25 years tolertant drugs policy in the Netherlands

Dear all,
Please find below the English translation of the TV program The failure of
25 years tolerant drugs policy in Holland sent, 12-3- 2000 by KRO-
netwerk TV-Nederland.
EURAD e-mail list
P.O. Box 139
234 23 LOMMA, Sweden

Translated by Piet Huurman from:
>> Alex van Vuuren
>> Office manager
>> Schreeuw om Leven
>> Ruitersweg 35-37
>> 1211 KT Hilversum
>> Tel.: (035) 624 43 52
>> Fax: (035) 624 91 41
>> E-mail:
>> Internet:
>> Concerned Citizens/Cry for Life, The Netherlands, Hilversum; March 25
>> The failure of 25 years tolerant drugs policy in Holland
>> – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
>> (facts and statements taken from Netherlands KRO Netwerk-TV,
>> Sunday 12-03-2000)
>> Subtitle: A cross-grained look at the Dutch drugspolicy
>> Amsterdam, touristic attraction number 1, counts today 210
>> coffeeshops and 75 hash-bars, visited by a lot of tourists.
>> Holland is of opinion that it handles it drugspolicy in a mature
>> way. Scientists and officials are even proud of it.
>> P.Cohen, University of Amsterdam (known as a pro-legalizer):
>> Tolerance is an excellent way of handling a problem, of which the
>> development in future is not known. It keeps people away (out)
>> of prison, and it softens public social problems.
>> Network: Apart from that there are also excrescences:
>> – Holland as producer number 1 of XTC;
>> – Holland as growery of weed of excellent quality;
>> – Holland as transit port for cheap harddrugs like heroine and
>> cocaine;
>> – criminals become very wealthy of the drugtrade.
>> Larry Collins (writer of books about the drugproblem):
>> I think the heart of the problem is that – let’s say – the
>> coffeeshoppolicy and the softdrugpolicy has engendered a wider
>> framework of tolerance and leniency towards other drugs, towards
>> particularly cocaine, heroine and XTC.
>> Network: Last year Larry Collins portraited the Dutch drugspolicy in
>> the authoritative magazine “Foreign Affairs”.
>> Larry Collins: 80 % of the heroine that we seized in the United Kingdom
>> 1998,
>> either was transited via Holland or was warehoused here before
>> it arrived. 80 % of the heroine seized in France was routed down from
>> Holland. The British customs estimate that 95 % of the XTC-tablets,
>> consumed in the UK, came out of Holland, were manufactured here.
>> The French set that figure at 73,6 %. That’s why you are the
>drugscapital of
>> Western Europe.
>> Network: Collin’s findings were received by Holland with anger.
>> The Dutch embassador in New York even expressed his displeasure
>> by reacting in the same magazine, as follows:
>> Foreign Affairs: The article of Collins was not meant to promote a
>> debate.
>> It was a too simple polemic about a problem that deserves to be handled
>> using exact information.
>> Larry Collins:
>> Foreign Ministry – I was told – was just enraged and sent it out to all
>> embassies saying: You must do something to stop this terrible propaganda
>> against our enlightened drugprogram.
>> So I think he was sieved by the authors in The Hague: Get a letter of
>> Foreign Affairs tomorrow.
>> Network: One of the drugsinvestigators of the University of Amsterdam
>> also reacted on Foreign Affairs.
>> UvA: Collins arguments are mainly exaggerated, misleading and unsound.
>> Network: The name “Nederweed” is a contraction of Nederland and weed.
>> Nederweed is produced only in Holland. In every other European country
>> growth of weed is forbidden. In Holland also, but here police and
>> blink facts.
>> Jaap de Vlieger, chief ot the Rotterdam narcotica-brigade of the police:
>> I myself plead for: Stop that tolerance policy. It’s the most strange
>> we have, because it means that the problem is unmaneagable. We really
>> stop that policy of tolerance.
>> Network: And this is Rob Hessing, ex-chief commissioner of the Rotterdam
>> police. Nowadays he is a member of the Dutch Embassy in Paris, where he
>> tries to make understood the Dutch drugspolicy.
>> Hessing: Tolerance: that sounds quite plausible, but it is connected
>> great dangers, because at length you cannot survey what you tolerate.
>> cannot at all manage the situation.
>> Network: 1976: the begin of the tolerance policy. Drugsuse is no longer
>> punishable, softdrugs are obtainable in youth centra.
>> Goal: to keep youngsters, using softdrugs, away from harddrugs.
>> This policy is called: separation of markets.
>> T.Blom, Erasmus University Rotterdam: Separation of markets means: you
>> tolerate the small scale dealing in softdrugs, whereas you try to
>tackle the
>> harddrugsmarket with
>> every possible juridicial means.
>> Network: In 1976 minister Irene Vorrink (Labour Party) was responsible
>> public health. Se is the mother of Koos Zwart, in those days a notorious
>> VARA-radioman.
>> Koos Zwart: There is still an enormous atmosphere of illicity.
>> It is still a habit of several people to state that maffiosi or Chinese
>> behind the entire drugsscene in Holland.
>> T.Blom, Erasmus University Rotterdam: The notorious son of Irene
>> Koos Zwart, in those days broadcasted market-reports by radio, in which
>> indicated the streetvalue of any kind of cannabis, weed and marihuana,
>> the market in Amsterdam.
>> I cannot help receiving the impression that he has severely influenced
>> vision of this mother, in those days minister of public health,
>> in the first place for the
>> drugspolicy.
>> Network: Goal of Vorrink’s policy was: keep youngsters away from
>> harddrugs. What did it work out? Here are the figures of the
>> Trimbos-Institute, the advice-organ of public health. Heroine-use
>> pupils in 1997: average 1 %.
>> Cocaine-use amongst pupils in 1997: 4 % (Holland is here at the 2nd
>> after America).
>> Amphetamine-use amongst pupils: 8% (Holland is here at the 3rd place,
>> England and America). Finally the popular harddrug XTC: 8% (2nd place,
>> Ireland).
>> Jaap de Vlieger, Rotterdam: The figures of both cocaine and XTC should
>> us scratch our
>> head.
>> Network: The figures of the Trimbos-Institute are supported by those of
>> the European Drugscenter in Lissabon.
>> Network: The opinion of Peter Cohen, drugsinvestigator of the
>University of
>> Amsterdam, has been for 20 years very heavy weighing for the ministry of
>> public health. He all by himself makes objections against the
>> investigation-methods of the Trimbos-Institute, including its figures,
>> he qualifies as “ideologically coloured”.
>> P.Cohen: These figures are, as far as people think they represent the
>> Dutch population, misleading.
>> Network: Cohen cannot imagine that others say the same about his
>> Network: Just another aspect: our government is not aware of the harm of
>> cannabis. So far they are of opinion that cannabis is not or hardly
>> for someone’s health. Why ?
>> J.Walburg, manager of the Jellinek-clinic: There have been made so far
>> almost no investigations about the effect of cannabis and about the
>> consequences of increasing the
>> active element THC in cannabis, so that we do not know exactly what the
>> consequences are of these new types of cannabis.
>> There are almost no investigations in the field of the relationship
>> psychiatric problems and the use of cannabis, although we badly need
>> knowledge to understand
>> what it means to tolerate cannabis in our society.
>> Network: What is the reason of that lack of investigations ?
>> J.Walburg: The problem is not experienced as a problem.
>> You do not investigate matters that are not considered to be a problem.
>> Network: Would you welcome such investigations ?
>> J.Walburg: Yes, it’s absolutely needed, not only for ourselves, but
>also for
>> our position against other countries. That position is constantly at
>> because we are so afraid and restraining to
>> report about the consequences of the liberal approach to the law on
>> cannabis.
>> Network: The wish of Jellinek is not honoured by the supporters of a
>> more liberal drugspolicy.
>> P.Cohen: Drugsexperts in Holland always contradict each other. You know
>> advance what people from inside the drugsaddictionscene are going to
>> – there is always lack of information;
>> – a lot of problems are still to be investigated.
>> Network: And what about the Jellinek-clinic in that respect ?
>> P.Cohen: The Jellinek is of course a large balloon, floating on the
>> atmosphere of this problem-perception.
>> Network: Cohen condemns everyone: Jellinek, Trimbos, Jaap de Vlieger,
>> the police, justice, all of them are good for nothing.
>> T.Blom: The 1976-tolerance-drugspolicy was profiled as follows:
>> – free sale of softdrugs in youth-centra;
>> – sale at small scale, by one housedealer;
>> – without pursuit of gain.
>> Network: Did’nt they think about the idea that sale at large scale
>would be
>> possible ?
>> T.Blom: I have never in any whatsoever document found any indication
>> the possibility that this might become a commercial business, no, they
>> not at all thinking about this.
>> Hessing: And that has become a phenomenon of which we have always said
>> that we tolerated it, but in fact we began to tolerate youth centra,
>next to
>> that we tolerated the fact that criminals took over the business and
>> wealthy, and finally we almost
>> tolerated the implementation of organized crime.
>> Network: Dutch policemen are of the same opinion as Rob Hessing.
>> Vlieger: Since 1976 the tracing and persecution of
>> has had a low priority for both police and justice, which has been the
>> policy of justice. We had different priorities, there are more dangerous
>> means, demanding our attention.
>> Network: Such like heroine.
>> Vlieger: Such like heroine, cocaine, a.s.o. That’s why you see that
>> criminal organizations flourished exactly by dealing in those field and
>> products, to which police and justice did’nt pay almost any attention.
>> Hessing: They started to make profit, and when this was noticed by
>> there were organizations, thinking: That business is very much
>> They start to professionalize it, a youth center becomes a coffeeshop,
>> finally it goes beyond all bounds.
>> Network: Unto the Bruinsma’s, the Hakkelaar’s (= Stammemer), the
>> case.
>> Hessing: Exactly.
>> Network: The criminal organizations have become very wealthy, amongst
>> by supplying stocks of softdrugs to coffeeshops. In fact it is
>> police and justice, however, hardly took notice of the supplying of
>> coffeeshops. The professional description of it reads: tolerating the
>> illegal backdoor of the coffeeshop.
>> Hessing: It remains for me extremely difficult to explain that
>> backdoor-policy. That causes me to perform a complex gymnastic stunt.
>When I
>> arrived in Paris, I started to think about what I was going to talk
>about. I
>> did’nt start with explanations about our drugspolicy, to prevent myself
>> getting stucked.
>> I started to talk about safety, which consequently lead to discussions
>> the drugsproblem.
>> Network: Foreign countries do not understand that drugstrade is
>> light punished in Holland. And Justice knows that it is a problem.
>> The Public Prosecutor in the Hakkelaar-proces of 1997: If our society
>> effective fighting against organized crimes and organized wholesale in
>> drugs, and at the same is of opinion
>> that the Dutch drugspolicy should be maintained and be acceptable for
>> foreign countries, then there should be done quickly something with the
>> maxima of punishment.
>> Network: Investigators years ago already presented such signals.
>> C.Steinmetz, onderzoeker: In the begin of 1995 I was charged by the
>> of justice to
>> map out how much money circulates in the world of softdrugs, the world
>> hashish and marihuana.
>> Network: What were the results of that investigation ?
>> C. Steinmetz: For me it was totally embarrassing. It was quite clear
>> Dutchmen are no smokers, but nothing more or less than dealers. So the
>> result was: about 19 billion guilders circulate in this world, but no
>> than 0,8 billion guilders in Holland are spent by smoking.
>> Netwerk: After publication the ministry of public health appeared to be
>> quite unhappy with the figures of Steinmetz.
>> Steinmetz: When I am allowed to say so: in fact nothing happened with
>> investigation. My figures were not wellcomed by public health, although
>> are responsible for the health-aspects, and that’s why they so fully
>> co-operated with the tolerance-policy … that means: to guarantee that
>> people in a kind of legal atmosphere can smoke. They, however, were not
>> aware that they possibly were the instigators of criminal trade.
>> Network: Is the ministry of public health co-responsible for the
>increase of
>> heavy criminality ?
>> General manager P.Pennekamp, top-official in the field of drugspolicy,
>> opposed against that. Drugs and criminality are found everywhere, is’nt
>it ?
>> Pennekamp: I think that we meet with any kind of organized crimes in the
>> field of drugs, in Holland, a country with tolerance-policy, as well as
>> Sweden.
>> Network: Klaas Bruinsma, alias the Reverend, killed 10 years ago,
>> U., his succeeder, John V., alias the Stammemer, and also ex-racer
>> Zwolsman: they all have one thing in common: they became wealthy of the
>> trade in drugs. In order to get grip on such large dealers, the police
>> started about 1990 with a special unit, called IRT, allowing to import
>> quantities of both softdrugs and harddrugs, with the aim to check the
>> activities of such dealers and to arrest and condemn them. Such acting,
>> however, is opposite the law.
>> Hessing: What started in the sphere of youth centra, became more and
>> criminal, on the one hand tolerating drugsusers and maintaining the same
>> policy for 20 years, even considering it progressive, without innovating
>> anything, on the other hand let the police and justice, the reserve of
>> medal, fight against drugs; this caused an enormous clash, known as the
>> IRT-affair.
>> Network: The parlementarian IRT-investigation, lead by Maarten van Traa
>> (Labour party) was meant to check the infiltration-technics of the
>> Van Traa: If it for reasons of credibility is necessary to allow the
>> of hash in the environment, then I agree.
>> Network: The police was the only one in the dock, the government itself
>> absent, and this is striking, for it is exactly the government,
>> by its tolerance-policy the heavy criminality to expend and become
>> Almost nothing about that fact, however, in the report of the Van
>> Traa-committee. Unjustly … is the meaning of Otto Vos, member of this
>> committee for the Liberal Party. He has – as is clear now – together
>> Koekkoek from the Christian Democrates, tried to get this
>> in the Van Traa report.
>> Otto Vos: The Van Traa committee has paid attention to the relationship
>> between the softdrugpolicy and the arising of criminality in the
>> Netherlands. It was established that, because the hashtrade was left
>> undisturbed in the years ’70 and ’80, a large amount of organized
>> criminality arose. The minority position of both Koekkoek and me was
>> directed at getting that in an outstanding way expressed in the Van Traa
>> report.
>> Netwerk: Why was it refused ?
>> Otto Vos: A number of members of the committee, including Van Traa
>> were opposed to it.
>> Network: We have called professor Koekkoek of the Christian Democrates,
>> he acknowledges the conclusion/remark of Otto Vos.
>> Otto Vos: The conclusion that tolerance-policy has lead to heavy forms
>> criminality, has been very briefly expressed in the Van Traa report.
>> Network: It also did’nt get that much attention from society. How do you
>> explain that ?
>> Otto Vos: The softdrugpolicy has a high ideological impact in Holland.
>> when there is laid a direct relationship between the softdrugpolicy and
>> arising of organized criminality, this is very painful to experience, to
>> establish, to admit. So I think that they do not like to hear that. It
>is –
>> however – reality.
>> Network: They may be did’nt like to start a discussion about that ?
>> T.Blom: It seems so … that they did’nt want to discuss once again
>> the issues, framed in 1976.
>> C.Steinmetz: Summaried in a kind of short sketch we may say: By means
>of the
>> way the softdrugpolicy has been framed, Holland has engendered that
>> criminals got a fantastic chance to deal.
>> Network: Do you agree with the critics of foreign countries at the Dutch
>> softdrugspolicy?
>> Steinmetz: Yes, for they began to discover gradually that all lines
>went via
>> Holland, either direct via Holland, or via – let’s say – via Dutch
>> organizations, working abroad.
>> Network: 25 years tolerance-policy: Holland has no less harddrugsusers
>> countries without tolerance-policy. We have a prominent position in the
>> trade of all kinds of drugs, and a great attraction on drugstourists
>> all over the world. Yet Holland is still fond of its roll as pioneer.
>> any country, however, still takes our drugsexperiment seriously.
>> Hessing: I think that we may blame ourselves. We have so long advocated
>> progessive policy, we may, however, also conclude that we during the
>> ’70 and ’80 in fact came to a standstill.
>> J.Walburg (Jellinek): Internationally seen we cannot join in the
>> conservation authoratively, because every time they think: Your talks
>> charming, but you produce drugs, and our children go to your country to
>> drugs … that kind of business.
>> So what I mean is: this causes our initiatives to get stuck. That’s why
>> say: we should try, when taking an initiative, to find partners in
>> or in France, or in Belgium, for all
>> by ourselves we really need not at all to launch arguments for the
>> of the drugspolicy.
>> Network: It took 25 years to openly critisize our so “holy”
>> tolerance-policy. A policy that did’nt succeed in keeping away
>> from harddrugs. A policy that made criminal organizations become many
>> billions more wealthy.
>> Network: It is said that ideologies have disappeared/no longer exist.
>> take a look at the discussion about the drugspolicy, and you will get
>> impression that facts and figures are apparently less important than
>> ideological conceptions./Rotterdam, 13-3- 2000. P. Huurman.

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