The Trimbos addiction and mental health institute Trimbos on Thursday issued new guidelines for local authorities to deal with the use of drugs at festivals.
With hundreds of events a year in the Netherlands, the guidelines are needed to ensure equal treatment across the country, the institute says. The aim is to ensure festival-goers understand what is expected of them and what they can expect.
‘This approach states what the law says, shows how other councils deal with the issues and explains why we recommend certain courses of action,’ spokesman Ferry Goossens told broadcaster Nos.
‘One of problems is that policy is determined by politics and sentiment,’ he said. ‘But councils need to think about what they are aiming to achieve, particularly if they want to avoid health problems through drug use.’
Trimbos recommends, for example, that councils avoid the use of sniffer dogs. In addition, there should be a direct route agreed between organisers and healthcare providers and police and security officials need to determine in advance how many pills will result in prosecution.
The guidelines follow some criticism of the official policy towards drugs at last year’s Amsterdam Dance Event and the introduction of fast-track court hearings for people caught with hard drugs.
Amsterdam police arrested more than 200 people for drugs offences during last year’s ADE. Many of those arrested were foreign tourists.
One woman died from a drugs overdose during the festival and 16 others were taken to hospital.