Combating drugs in northern Dutch schools
The Monday 25 August edition of free newspaper Metro leads with news of a campaign against drink and drugs in schools being launched in the West Friesland area of the province of North Holland.
The high number of suicides amongst young people in the area has led to the initiative. An 18-year-old recently killed himself, becoming the seventh local youngster over the last three years or so to commit suicide because of drink or
Mayor Henk Eggermont of Stede Broec, the district where the young man lived, is promising a tough fight against "the terrible misery being suffered by young people and those around them".
Metro quotes Mr Eggermont at length. He believes a criminal dealer network is targeting the young people. "This Mafia has penetrated right into schools. I've been told that more than 60 percent of young people in my own area have problems with either drugs or drink or both," he says. "As well as drinking themselves into a coma, all imaginable kinds of drugs are being sniffed and swallowed."
He aims to do everything possible under the law to combat the problem. "We'll have to take unorthodox steps to stop these tragedies occurring," he warns. "We're going to trail criminals to stop them operating and plan to publish the names and photos of youngsters as a warning to others. But we'll also introduce compulsory treatment for users to kick the habit."
The father of a 16-year-old drugs dealer, who was stabbed in the neck and then run over in an underworld killing in 2007, tours schools campaigning against drugs. He is backing the new initiative, but remains cynical: "I support Mr Eggermont but, this time, it mustn't just be hot air. Far too often I've heard that nothing is done with tips and other information," he tells Metro.
By Mike Wilcox
26 August 2008