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Separation of Drug Markets and the Normalization of Drug Problems in the Netherlands: An Example for Other Nations?

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Issues Volume: 20 Issue: 2 Dated: (Summer 1990) Pages: 463-471
H J VanVliet
Date Published
19 pages
Since the end of the 1960s, the Dutch have deliberately developed drug policies that both fit their needs and their tradition of solving social problems. This includes the notion that these policies have to be cost-effective.
This strategy has almost automatically led to an uneasy relationship not only with the international drug control system and its administrators but also with countries advocating the "War on Drugs" type policies. Two basic elements of this policy are presented here. The decriminalization of the use and the retail trade in cannabis products (marijuana and hashish) aims at keeping experimenting youngsters away from drugs like heroin, cocaine, etc. This "separation of markets" concept, developed in the early 1970s, has proven to be a successful fundament for further steps in policy development. The more recent concept of "normalization of drug problems" (almost diametrically opposed to the U.S. concept of "user accountability") aims at the integration or encapsulation of drug abusers in society, in order to minimize the harm inflicted by drug abuse on the abuser, his environment, and society. This policy element plays a paramount role in AIDS prevention. 1 note, 9 references. (Author abstract)


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