Expatica news

Cabinet conflict over expansion of heroin trial

11 December 2003

AMSTERDAM — The Christian Democrat CDA, has been angered by its government coalition Democrat D66 and Liberal VVD partners, after they submitted draft legislation calling for the expansion of a trial supply of heroin to chronic addicts.

Despite great enthusiasm from the councils of six large cities, the Cabinet recently opted to postpone a decision about expanding the experiment.

The Netherlands is currently supplying heroin via prescription to 300 chronic long-term addicts in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Heerlen and Groningen — and statistics indicate that the level of criminality has significantly been reduced.

Drug addicts need heroin every day to prevent the onset of withdrawal symptoms and commit crimes to get the necessary cash. Municipal authorities involved in the trial supply of the drug have applauded the initiative for reducing the crime rate and improving public safety.

Despite the positive results, the Cabinet is hesitant to expand the program until its results have been properly assessed.

The joint D66 and VVD motion to expand the project, however, has gained support from opposition party Labour PvdA in the Lower House of Parliament, Tweede Kamer, giving it majority support.

The coalition government accord states that an evaluation first be conducted before expanding the trial supply of heroin to drug addicts in other cities. The cabinet has said it will not decide until next year if it will expand the project.

The cities of Eindhoven, Enschede, Haarlem, Zwolle and Apeldoorn are keen to start supplying chronic addicts with heroin as soon as possible.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news