Press, Public and Cultural Affairs

 Drug Policy and Crime Statistics

Recent accounts in the U.S. press about the Netherlands drug policy have included incorrect and misleading statistics about drug use and drug-related crimes in the Netherlands.  What follows is a short list of facts and comparisons to refute those accounts.  Sources are given to permit and encourage third party verification of facts. 

Last month use of cannabis (marijuana) by high school seniors
18.1%  in the Netherlands (1996); 
23.7% in the U.S. (1997). 
(Sources: The Trimbos Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Monitoring the Future Survey, University of Michigan and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) 

Any lifetime use (prevalence) of cannabis by older teens (1994)
30% in the Netherlands; 
38% in the U.S. 
(Sources: Center for Drug Research, University of Amsterdam; Monitoring the Future Survey, University of Michigan and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) 

Recent (last month) use of cannabis by 15 year olds (in 1995)
15% in the Netherlands; 
16% in the U.S.; 
24% in the U.K. 
(Sources: Trimbos Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Monitoring the Future Survey, University of Michigan and White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; Council of Europe, ESPAD Report) 

Any lifetime use of cannabis by 15 year olds (in 1995)
29% in the Netherlands; 
34% in the U.S.; 
41% in the U.K. 
(Sources: Netherlands Institute of Health and Addiction, U.S. National Institute for Drug Abuse; Council of Europe, ESPAD Report) 

Heroine addicts as a percentage of population (in 1995)
160 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 
430 per 100,000 in the U.S. 
(Sources: Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport; 
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) 

Murder rate as a percentage of population (in 1996)
1.8 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 
8.22 in the U.S. 
(Sources: Netherlands Bureau of Statistics; White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) 

Incarceration rate as a percentage of population (1997)
73 per 100,000 in the Netherlands; 
645 per 100,000 in the U.S. 
(Sources: Netherlands Ministry of Justice; White House Office of National Drug Control Strategy) 

Crime-related deaths as a percentage of population: 
1.2 per 100,000 in the Netherlands (1994); 
8.2 per 100,000 in the U.S. (1995). 
(Sources: World Health Organization; Uniform Crime Reports, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation) 

Per capita spending on drug-related law enforcement
$27 per capita in the Netherlands; 
$81 per capita in the U.S. 
 (Sources: Netherlands Ministry of Justice; White House Office of National Drug Control Strategy) 

Page last updated: 08/6/98

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