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Letter to the Editor U.S. News and World Report
Regarding Dutch Drug Legalization

 

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
 
Dear sir:
 
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 "better."
 
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!
 
Regards,
 
 
Calvina L. Fay
Executive Director