Decrease in problematic heroin users

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The number of problematic opiate users in the Netherlands dropped by an estimated 21 percent, compared to the period 2008-2009, according to a report from the Trimbos Institute and the Community Health Services Amsterdam (GGD-Amsterdam).

The decrease is in line with a decrease of 24 percent in the dependency care in the same period, according to the report: "Number and characteristics of problematic opiate users in the Netherlands."

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In 2012 there were about 14,000 users, compared to 17,700 in 2008-2009.

The National Alcohol and Drugs Information System (LADIS), who registers dependency care patients anonymously, also saw a drop in their numbers from 16,232 in 2008 to 12,313 in 2012, which means the numbers keep a similar pace.

A problematic opiate user is dependent on heroin, methadone, crack, sniff cocaine, cannabis or ecstasy.

The report also differentiates between more and less problematic opiate users. A more problematic user is someone who uses heroin and/or methadone at least three times a week, and is involved in criminal activities, has a psychiatric illness, is a cause of nuisance, or is in a unstable living arrangement. An opiate user who is stabilized on methadone is seen as less problematic, however still included in the report.