Amsterdam under fire over liberal ecstasy policy

Scene from the Amsterdam Dance Event 2014 (photo: ADE_NL/Twitter)Scene from the Amsterdam Dance Event 2014 (photo: ADE_NL/Twitter)

The Amsterdam VVD is critical of the capital city's lenient ecstasy policy during the Amsterdam Dance Event. During this event party goers will only be punished if they are in the possession of more than five pills, instead of the one pill maximum applicable in the rest of the Netherlands.

Amsterdam VVD chairman Marja Ruigrok called it "strange" that the capital has a different policy than the rest of the Netherlands, the Parool reports. "It is strange that we are so much more generous in Amsterdam in that policy", he said on the AT5 program Park Politiek. "I find five pills too much for one person. You could perhaps be well off with just one. But we actually believe that you should not do it at all. It is dangerous, you do not know what it contains. It is forbidden.

The D66 on the other hand, is very satisfied with Amsterdam's current policy. According to faction leader Jan Paternotte, dealers should be tackled and users should be informed. "You should help with that and make it possible for them to have their pills tested." he said to the newspaper.

The VVD youth division JOVD also believes that it should be left up to the party goers to decide whether one ecstasy pill is enough and it is not up to the party to decide. "The VVD is once again chocking on the anti-liberal policies it carries on drugs. If the VVD interferes with our drug use, we will interfere with the VVD's drug use", chairman Anouk van Brug said to the Parool. The JOVD is inviting the VVD to "face reality" during ADE.

Early this month the Trimbos institute issued a nationwide warning for dangerous ecstasy tablets that contain extremely high levels of MDMA. The tablets are marked with the ADE logo. These tablets have an increased risk of overdose and can lead to symptoms of psychosis, arrhythmia, liver failure and even death.

The city of Amsterdam is also teaming up with ADE, Jellinek, the Public Prosecutor, the police, the Public Health Service and the Drug Advisory Board to inform party goers of how to use drugs safely and the laws regarding drug use in the Netherlands. There will be medical personnel on site during the ADE event to help people feeling ill without any risk of prosecution. Drug center Jellinek will also be keeping its doors open for longer and set up a location in the city center where party goers can have their drugs tested to make sure they are safe to use.