Rotterdam is targeting drug users in a campaign to raise awareness of the connection between so-called “recreational” drug use and gang-related violence.
The campaign consists of several posters, one showing a coffin with a cross made up of two lines of cocaine and the text “Your hit, his execution”. Another has a picture of a hand grenade made from xtc pills titled “Your drug use blows up homes” while a third poster shows a blood-soaked xtc pill, saying “This pill has blood on it”.
The posters will be shown on billboards across the city, on social media and will be put up in bars and student houses.
“I see a lot of people around me who are eating less meat or don’t fly as often for the greater good. But those people also take a pill of sniff coke at the weekend. They seem to be oblivious to the fact that their actions are sponsoring the drugs mafia,” council health chief and campaign initiator Vincent Karremans said.
The violence connected with drugs-related crime does not usually happen on the doorsteps of the users, Karremans said. However, there are areas in Rotterdam that are “torn apart and where mothers see their children being recruited, and where homes are blown up,” he said.
“[The users] hear about this stuff on the news, and are a bit indignant and then go on to use coke on the Saturday,” he said.
Karremans said he is not putting all the blame on drug users but said they are definitely contributing to the violence. “ Every line of coke and every pill is linked to criminality and violence. Those €50 you pay the dealer is going into the pockets of a criminal who is prepared to kill. There is nothing to party about with party drugs.”
Rotterdam has seen an increasing number of drug-related explosives attacks on homes and business premises.
Waste water analysis also shows more drugs are being used in the port city than in 2021, with ecstasy use up 65% and a 35% rise in cocaine. That, the council says, translates into 5,000 xtc pills and 70,000 lines of coke a day.
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