Dutch weak on cocaine

Drug smugglers arrested with less than 3 kilos of cocaine at Amsterdam airport will not be prosecuted under plans by the Dutch government.

About 150 cocaine smugglers at arrested at the airport every month.

There are a rising number of arrests at the airport due to an influx of drug smugglers and the goals and courts cannot cope.

Previously the government stopped prosecuting drug smugglers with one and a half kilos of cocaine and now they have doubled the limit.

(Source: Geraldine Coughlan BBC correspondent in the Hague)


The Dutch have strongly embraced harm minimisation in drug policies and the drug problems have got worse.

The government clearly cannot cope with the drug smugglers so they ease the prosecution laws to stop their gaols and courts being flooded.

Australia has adopted harm minimisation in our drug policy adopting Dutch drug policies like injecting rooms, syringe distribution and allowing illicit drug possession.

Australian governments must provide detoxification and rehabilitation to illicit drug users to get them drug free.

International criminals and terrorists control the illicit drug trade so harm minimisation benefits these by providing a market for drugs.

Cocaine deaths

A study of 146 deaths from cocaine use in NSW from the records of the Coroners Office showed-

89% of the cocaine death victims were not in any treatment program.

The number of cocaine deaths increased substantially between 1998 and 2001 with the worst years being 1998 and also 2001.

84% of cocaine death victims were males.

The average age at death was 34 years.

3 out of 4 victims were in a married or defacto relationship.

Half of the victims were employed and 26% of all cocaine victims worked in professional occupations.

3 out of 4 victims were born in Australia.

(Source: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre)


Most of the cocaine death victims were long-term illicit drug users that were not receiving any assistance in getting themselves drug free.

Australian courts should direct arrested cocaine drug users into detoxification and rehabilitation programs with the clear aim to get them off all illicit drugs.

Providing illicit drug users with places to use drugs, clean syringes and other programs to maintain or change their drug use is not working.

Effective rehabilitation programs with the objective to get illicit drug users totally drug free is the only way to prevent cocaine deaths.

Divorce increases cocaine use

New research by the University of Chicago indicates that parental divorce leads to increased illicit drug use by their children.

The study of data collected between 1988 and 1992 by the US Department of Education showed that there was a strong and clear relationship between cocaine use and recent parental divorce.

Children from recently divorced single parent families were more likely than children from intact families to have consumed cocaine frequently.

These children from recently divorced families also more likely to be under the influence of cocaine whilst at school.

These children seek stonger illicit substances rather than weaker because a recent parental divorce causes increased emotional turmoil and stress in the child's life.

According to the researcher, the higher level of cocaine use amoung these teens of a recent divorce may reflect how upsetting and stressful an experience a parental divorce is.

(Source: Jeynes W.J. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Vol 35, 2001)


This study reinforces the need for all illicit drug users to be provided with detoxification followed by comprehensive rehabilitation to a drug free state.

The underlying causes of drug use must be addressed by the rehabilitation for it to be successful.

Policies that maintain illicit drug use will NOT work.

Ice Killing

A man who shot dead his friend was under the influence of the illicit drug ICE (methamphetamine) according to evidence in the Victoria Supreme Court.

The 23 year old man has pleaded guilty of manslaughter of his 19 year old friend who he described as like a brother.

The court heard that both men were under the influence of ICE when the shooting occurred in November 2009.

(Source: Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper 4 October 2010)


Methamphetamine known as ICE is a recently new illicit drug which is known to cause violence in its users.

The Federal Health Minister has identified ICE as causing drug induced psychosis leading to aggression and violent behaviour, stroke, panic attacks, anxiety and severe depression (media release 19/4/2009).

Now we see that ICE use is causing violent crime leading to death.

As well medical personnel in emergency departments of public hospitals as being violently attacked by ICE users.

The latest Australian Crime Commission report shows that detected drug laboratories producing illicit drugs had tripled in the last 10 years.

High drug demand is driving the incidence of community violence.

Rather than dealing with the consequences of this high demand and its violence, identified illicit drug users need to be diverted into rehabilitation to get them free of their drug use.

We support early intervention rehabilitation backed by court diversion and supervision to assist users to quit.

Drug Brain Damage

A Royal Perth Hospital study has found that one in five SPEED users treated at the hospitals emergency department has a brain abnormality linked to memory loss, dementia and an increased risk of stroke.

The study published in the Medical Journal of Australia of 30 patients with an average age of 29 years showed detectable brain irregularities.

This brain damage at a young age is likely to cause long term damage.

Effects of illicit drug use involving amphetamines and ICE include depression, anxiety, psychosis and memory disturbance.

(Source: The West newspaper, 7 September 2010)


Hospital emergency departments are well placed to see the effects of illicit drug use including dealing with violent drug affected patients.

Long term brain damage in young drug using Australians has major consequences for drug users, their families, hospitals, mental health professionals and law enforcement.

Permanent brain damage in illicit drug users has been found in other overseas scientific studies.

Illicit drugs specifically impact of the human brain to produce the euphoria sought by users so altered brain function should be expected.

Young people's brains do not mature until they are in their early twenties so the brain damage is very serious.

Court ordered and supervised illicit drug orders should divert all identified illicit drug users into rehabilitation before any brain damage becomes permanent.

Australia is obliged by International treaties to reduce demand for illicit drugs which has benefits for young people and the wider community.

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