Increasing numbers of Dutch addicts seek help

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Figures released by the National Alcohol and Drugs Information System shows that the number of Dutchy people seeking help for an alcohol addiction has more than doubled in the past ten years. And an increasing number of people are seeking help for their cannabis addiction.  

Each year a total of 72,000 people in the Netherlands seek help because they are addicted to alcohol, cannabis or other drugs. In nearly half of all cases patients are facing multiple addictions. Daan van der Gouwe of the Alcohol and Drugs help line says many of the addicts are middle-aged people, who often have been using alcohol or cannabis for many years. As they get older they increasingly come to view their abuse as a problem. Many of them have tried to beat their addiction on their own. When that fails, they call the help line.  

Positive Van der Gouwe regards the figures as a positive development. He says it’s not that more people are using drugs or getting addicted, but rather that people are increasingly willing to seek help.  

Losers The good news is the reduction in the number of heroin addicts in the Netherlands. In 2009, the country was home to about 12,000 heroin addicts; a reduction of 4,000 compared to 2000. According to Van der Gouwe, the Netherlands is different from other countries in this respect. In the Netherlands, heroin is increasingly seen as a drug for losers, and no longer holds much attraction for young people.




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