Drug Chief Unconvinced by Dutch Policy
July 17, 1998 page A 13
McCzar started his dissembling diplomacy by praising Sweden as a model for European drug prohibition policy and condemning Dutch drug policies as "an unmitigated disaster" responsible for a murder rate of 17.58/100,000 in The Netherlands compared to 8.22 murders per 100,000 people in the United States. "That's drugs," McCaffrey said.
Our bumbling narco-diplomat need not wonder why his attempts to sell failed American drug prohibition landed on deaf ears throughout Europe. To begin with the Dutch actually have a murder rate of 1.8 per 100,000, less than one fourth that of the United States. (McCzar blamed his mistake on erroneous Interpol figures.) Sweden, which McCaffrey praises as a model for drug policy has an illicit drug death rate of 23.5 per million inhabitants while the Netherlands have only 2.4 drug related deaths per million or about one-tenth that of the Swedes. That isn't bad enough. The US had 38.2 drug deaths per million inhabitants in 1995 which is over 15 times higher than Holland.
McCzar blindly condemned Dutch policy, but the truth (generally known in Europe) is that the Netherlands has fewer "drug problems" than the United States in every category. The average age of opiate addicts in Holland has risen from 26.8 yrs in 1981 to 37 yrs in 1998. In the same period the percent of opiate addicts in Amsterdam under 22 yrs of age has dropped from 14.4% in 1981 to 1.2% in 1998. Opiate addiction in Holland has declined considerably under their liberal policies. Meanwhile on the home front McCzar complains about increasing heroin use among 8th graders and the DEA reports that heroin and cocaine are purer and cheaper than ever.
McCzar was like a time travelling doctor from 1750 trying to convince physicians trained in laser surgery, molecular biology and nuclear medicine that indiscriminate blood letting and enemas will cure "anything that ails a man." The United States leads Europe in addiction, HIV-AIDS rates among addicts, addict mortality, child drug abuse, criminal activity associated with drugs and virtually every other category of drug harm. That's drug policy!