Public asked to sniff out ecstasy labs with scratch cards

Photo: Public prosecution department
Photo: Public prosecution department

Three thousand households in remote areas of Flevoland are to be given ecstasy scratch and sniff cards in a campaign to raise awareness of the presence of drugs labs and to combat organised crime, local broadcaster Omroep Flevoland reports.

Officials are asking for the help of the public because the areas are big and therefore difficult to police, a coalition made up of police, local councils and farming organisation LTO Noord said.

Criminals are increasingly using legitimate operations to aid their activities, for instance by renting storage buildings which are then used as labs or for growing marijuana. Flevoland is also a favourite dumping site for drugs waste products.

The cards, impregnated with the smell of aniseed which approximates the smell of ecstasy, will make people more alert should they detect the smell, mayor Gerrit Jan Gorter of Zeewolde said.

‘We know the sort of smells that belong to a farm. If you smell something that is out of the ordinary it could be a signal,’ he said.

It is not the first time sratch and sniff cards have been used in the Netherlands. In 2010  and 2013 police handed out cannabis-scented postcards to help people spot cannabis cultivation in homes.

And last year, the public prosecution department came up with Xtacy, a scent in a bottle that smelled like the party drug in a bid to boost public awareness of the problem.

‘The first thing that hits your nose is aniseed and then it becomes a little more sour,’ said Lisette Kraaijenhagen from SmartNose, the company which devised the scent, at the time. ‘Aniseed is the real tell-tale sign.’

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