Zero drugs policy at festivals ‘dangerous’

The new zero tolerance approach to drugs at big dance festivals by police is dangerous and is leading to a kamikaze mentality among users, reports Thursday’s Volkskrant.

Over the past year, police and council officials have taken a much tougher line on drugs at dance parties, with sniffer dogs checking guests on arrival and plain-clothed police officers mingling with the crowds.
The policy means that people are taking more drugs than normal before entering parties and festivals, Charles Dorpmans from the addiction clinic Novadic-Kentron tells the paper.
Users are also less likely to report to first aid posts if they feel unwell because they are afraid of being arrested, Dorpmans says.
Public perception
University researcher Jan Krul tells the paper that the number of drugs-related incidents had been going down. ‘But I am afraid the zero tolerance policy will reverse that,’ he is quoted as saying.
Drugs are part of the dance culture, he points out. ‘From a health perspective, zero tolerance is rubbish.’
Dorpmans claims that health concerns are not the main reason for the crackdown. ‘It is all about public perception. The police can score a lot of publicity at such large-scale events.’

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