March 30, 2007
Letter to the Editor
U.S. News and World Report
1050 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Washington, DC 20007
Re: March 26 - April 2, 2007 edition
Making America Better
As a drug policy expert with 25 years of experience, I
was appalled thatyou featured the drug policy of The
Netherlands as being superior to the policy of the
U.S. and suggested that it would make America
Has the author of this article ever actually visited
The Netherlands? I have and I can tell you it is
cesspool and not a society that we should seek to
emulate. I witnessed people wandering the
streets stoned out of their minds and drug deals being
conducted in broad daylight on main
streets of downtown Amsterdam. I was harassed by
dealers pedaling their poison in the streets.
Contrary to the rosy picture your article painted,
their drug policy has created some major problems for
their citizens. In 1995, the honorable Gerald B.
H. Solomon of New York testified that since "...the
softening of drug policy in Holland, shootings have
increased 40%, robberies 62%,
and car thefts 62%. This experiment which was
meant to decrease organized crime has resulted in an
increase in organized crime families from 3 in 1988 to
93 today. The number of registered marijuana
addicts has risen 30% and the number of other addicts
has risen 22%."
Their drug policy has attracted many drug users and
created chaos. In August 2006, Marlise Simons
reported that the city of Maastricht in The
Netherlands had "...turned into a hub for foreign
smokers and dealers.
The police say drug tourists, estimated at more than a
million per year, come to shop from neighboring
countries, some as far away as France and Switzerland.
The multimillion-dollar trade has spawned a supply
chain of illicit growers and underground traders."
Simons quoted police
spokesman, Piet Tans, as saying "People who come from
far away don't just come for the five grams you can
buy legally over the counter. They think pounds
and kilos; they go to dealers who operate in the
shadows." According to Simons, Mr. Tans also said that
the flourishing drug
tourism had attracted pushers of hard drugs from other
places who often harass people on the streets.
Simons further reported that residents complain of
traffic problems, petty crime, loitering and public
urinating. There have been shoot-outs between
Balkan gangs and Maastricht's small police force says
it cannot cope and is already spending one-third of
its time on drug-related problems. According to
Simons' report, in Maastricht, half of the original 32
cafes have been
shut down because of legal violations.
Their drug policy has also bred corruption.
According to an article that appeared in The Guardian
UK in September 2003, Amsterdam's government was under
pressure to act after a television documentary
revealed that senior police officers there regularly
used hard drugs and
even dealt ecstasy and cocaine to colleagues.
Based upon a leaked report from the police's internal
affairs department, a quarter of the Beursstraat
station's personnel (in central Amsterdam) used hard
drugs. The investigation was launched after a
detective saw a police brigadier
popping ecstasy while on a stakeout. Witnesses
described occasions when officers were so high on
ecstasy that they could not even find Amsterdam's main
shopping street, Kalverstraat, just two minutes away
from the station.
Most Americans still want a future that is better for
our children and the drug policy of The Netherlands
certainly does not offer us a better future!
Calvina L. Fay