on these pages, articles have stated the figure as being about 1,000,000
persons using pot in the Netherlands. This was a "wild guess" by
the web maintainer based upon the previous "official" figure of about 675,000
from the 1980's (all based upon "Amsterdam only" data). I fudged that estimate
upward since I thought the controversy in Holland would stimulate more
people to try marijuana. The
opposite seems to have happened lately in Holland. There
are fewer cannabis coffeeshops there now than 3 years ago, due to pressure
from Dutch conservatives, the U. S. and France.
AMSTERDAM, Jan 6 ((1999)) (Reuters) - The Netherlands has significantly fewer
(Should we now call "harm reduction" style policies,
"VIRTUAL PROHIBITION", based upon the actual measurable results in society ?)
cannabis users than its reputation as a soft drugs haven might suggest, according to a study released on Wednesday.
The study, financed by the health ministry and conducted by Amsterdam
University and the Central Bureau of Statistics, is the first to document national drugs use.
It found 15.6 percent of Dutch people aged 12 and over had used or tried cannabis, versus a U.S. figure of 32.9 percent.
The Dutch study, published on Tuesday and which spanned 1997 and early
1998, determined 2.5 percent of those aged 12 and over had used cannabis within the last month.
``(This) amounts to some 323,000 people, and is thus significantly lower
than the estimate of 675,000 used by the (Dutch) government,'' the study said.
In contrast, U.S. National Household Survey data for 1997 compiled by
the Washington-based Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA) determined 5.1 percent of Americans were recent cannabis users.
``The figures show that a repressive drugs policy, as implemented in
the U.S., does not necessarily reduce drugs use,'' the Dutch study
said. ``(Ease of) availability is not a determining factor for the use
of drugs in a country.''
The findings run counter to remarks made by U.S. drugs policy adviser
General Barry McCaffrey, who last summer sparked a diplomatic spat when he said Dutch leniency on soft drugs use had led to an explosion in the jail population and a sharp rise in the number of users.
By contrast the United States' hard line on drugs had cut abuse rates in America by 50 percent, McCaffrey said.
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