Netherlands Drug Rehab Center
Narconon Zutphen continues to find and help anyone in the Netherlands who has become addicted to alcohol or drugs. People come from all over the country to Deventerweg 93 when they realize they need to get off drugs and alcohol—or risk losing everything, even their lives.
Delivering drug rehabilitation and drug education in several languages, Narconon Zutphen has serviced students from throughout Europe. They have long received charitable support for its scholarship program from a nearby Catholic convent and other community members interested in effective drug rehabilitation.
Narconon Zutphen Community Activities
In 2007, to spread the word about the drug treatment center that saves lives, Narconon graduates and supporters carried out a walkathon from The Hague to Brussels. They then walked along the coastline to Zierikzee, crossed the English Channel, then ran to Brighton in England. Along the way, they passed out literature on the success of the Narconon rehab program so they could reach the people who might need drug addiction treatment.
In 2008, the group carried out a different public outreach activity. This was a run that left from Volendam, visited Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Lelystad, Almere, and Muiden and then returned to Volendam again. The run was executed in relays by graduates of the addiction treatment center in Zutphen and its supporters. In town halls along the way, the participants met with citizens who wanted to know more about how the Narconon drug program works.
Addressing the Drug Problem in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is broadly known for its tolerant attitude about drugs, but not very many people are specific as to what this means. In Dutch cities, possession and use of small quantities of cannabis in certain coffee shops is tolerated. The quantity permitted is five grams. In actual fact, possession, sale, and cultivation of cannabis are illegal, but the law is not enforced in these coffee shops.
However, the cannabis of today is not necessarily the cannabis that was available when this tolerance began. Between 1998 and 2005, the potency (THC content) of cannabis sold in coffee shops increased from 9 percent to 18 percent.
In 2009, citizens close to the border complained that this tolerance created “drug tourism”—residents of other countries coming across the borders from Belgium, France, and Germany, just to smoke cannabis in these coffee shops. To stem this phenomenon, six coffee shops were closed along the border of Belgium, shutting out 25,000 Belgian tourists each week. Border checks carried out at the same time arrested 42 people, mostly for possession of small amounts of cannabis.
Cultivation and possession of larger quantities of cannabis are still prosecuted. In 2008, more than 850,000 cannabis plants were eradicated. The U.S. Department of State estimated the Netherland’s 2008 cannabis production at more than 600 metric tons. In a U.N. survey done in 2008, the Netherlands was the top cannabis source country, mentioned more than twice as often as the second country on the list.
Was This the Start of Drug Tolerance in the Netherlands?
Like other countries with far-flung colonies, the Dutch cultivated opium for centuries. For a hundred years ending in 1915, the production of opium contributed 10% of the total income from its colonies.
Back in the Netherlands, a cocaine-production factory opened in 1900 and annually produced 14,000 kg of cocaine before the war. During WW I, this increased to as much as 30,000 kg per year. The factory closed in 1950. This facility helped the country maintain its role as the principal world producer of cocaine in the 1920s and 1930s.
Drugs for Europe Often Enter Via the Netherlands
The Netherlands is currently one of the central drug distribution points for Europe. In 2007, 2,855 kilograms of illicit amphetamines were seized. Heroin routes are often traced through Turkey and Romania to the Netherlands and from there the drug is distributed to the U.K., France, Germany, and Spain.
The country has long been a source of ecstasy (MDMA) for the whole world, although, in the last few years, Canada and Asia have also begun to produce the drug. In 2007, 27% of the world’s total ecstasy seizures happened in the Netherlands, totaling 2,162 kilograms of the drug.
While Cannabis Use is Stable, Addiction Treatment Demand Rises
Surveys on household use of cannabis showed that between 2001 and 2005, use did not increase. What did increase were the requests for substance abuse treatment due to addiction to cannabis. The number of people seeking help who listed cannabis as the primary problem increased more than 75% between 2000 and 2005. This trend may trace back to the increase in potency of the domestically-produced drug.
The primary drugs abused by the Dutch are opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines, and ecstasy, in descending order of frequency. One survey estimated that more than 30,000 15 and 16-year-olds consume heroin each year. There are an estimated 50,000 opiate users of all ages in the country.
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