Liberal Amsterdam drug policy praised; called a model for other cities

The Trimbos institute praises Amsterdam's drug policy in their newly published guideline on how local authorities can best deal with alcohol and drugs at events. Amsterdam is repeatedly cited as an example in the report. 

Amsterdam's drug policy involves only granting permits to dance events if they give attendees information on drugs and possible side effects. Amsterdam also works on the so-called "five pill policy" - in the city the Public Prosecutor will only prosecute a person in possession of more than five pills.Nationwide it is more than one pill.

"What is positive about the Amsterdam approach is that the guidelines are clear and that good agreements are made with all parties involved at events. Both safety and the health of the party goers are well thought about", said Ferry Goosens of the institute. About the five-pill policy he said "I think it's very real. You can very actively go searching and arrest everyone who has one pill on him, but that is a valuable investment. And what is the sense it it?"

Goosens also pointed out a few problems in the policy, referring back to the Amsterdam Dance Event to point out how important proper communication about the rules is. "In the press the image was created that you can go into an ADE party with five pills in your pocket. That's not true. You are not allowed to have drugs on you. The Amsterdam guideline is that if you are caught with a small amount, you will not be prosecuted. But security still confiscate the pills and denies you access."

The Institute isn't saying that all municipalities should follow Amsterdam's pragmatic example. According to Trimbos, each municipality should come up with a alcohol and drug policy that suits its culture and political color.

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