Ministers slammed for not funding junkies

29th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

29 June 2005, AMSTERDAM — An MP has accused two ministers of knowing allowing criminality to continue in Dutch cities by refusing to make money available to provide free heroin to longterm drug addicts.

29 June 2005

AMSTERDAM — An MP has accused two ministers of knowing allowing criminality to continue in Dutch cities by refusing to make money available to provide free heroin to longterm drug addicts.

Parliamentarian Lousewies van der Laan made the accusation against Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner and Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst as she called for a special debate on the issue on Thursday.

Van der Laan is a member of the Democrat D66 party, which is part of the three-party centre-right coalition in the Netherlands. Donner is a member of the Christian Democrat CDA and Hoogervorst represents the Liberal VVD.

Angrily, Van der Laan declared: "A minister who refuses to put money into the heroin supply programme is consciously helping to maintain criminality in big cities".

Last year, the Dutch parliament voted in favour of an amendment to the Justice Ministry budget in 2005 to make EUR 6 million available for the free drugs programme.

Van der Laan claims this level of funding was to be made available every year but the two ministers had instead decided to pay out one sum of EUR 6 million spread over three years.

As a result, local government districts that want to take part in the programme will have to come up with a lot of the money themselves.  This has led to speculation some municipalities will drop the idea.

The injection of money was intended to increase the number of longterm addicts on the programme to 1000. Currently 300 addicts receive the drug free of charge to prevent  them committing crime to feed their habits.

"An addict who is not being treated would need rob, shop lift or burgle EUR 1,000 a day. A lot of people are saved from becoming victims of such crimes every day because addicts who are in the treatment programme hardly ever commit further crimes," Van der Laan said.

[Copyright Expatica + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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