Schaffer Online Library of Drug Policy Sign the Resolution for a Federal Commission on Drug Policy


Contents | Feedback | Search | DRCNet Home Page | Join DRCNet

DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | The Drug Legalization Debate


DEA Statement

The Facts

The experiences of a number of foreign countries including Great Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland are often cited to demonstrate that other nations have successfully controlled drug use by offering access and areas where drug takers can obtain and use drugs. Recently, an MTV documentary on the drug issue highlighted coffeehouses in Amsterdam as a model for controlled, successful environment in which young Europeans can enjoy marijuana.

There was also a 60 Minutes segment on the drug clinics in Liverpool, England, a special on the Arts & Entertainment Channel, and a special on ABC which explored the situation in Europe.

Legalization proponents cannot find encouragement in the fact that when drugs were once legal, cheap and available in the United States, the impact on society was such that laws were enacted to make drugs illegal. They ignore our own history and point to Great Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland as free and open societies where drug use is allowed with no adverse effects. The Quantico experts believed it is important to shed light on the foreign experience with increased drug access and liberalized use policies, and explain that this experience has been negative

The statement of our own history is plainly false. Interested readers should any of the major studies of drug policy listed in this book.

England tried prescribing heroin but gave it up. Until the mid1960s, British physicians were allowed to prescribe heroin to certain classes of addicts. After this experiment, according to James Q. Wilson in his 1990 article "Against the Legalization of Drugs", "a youthful drug culture emerged with a demand for drugs far different from that of the older addicts."

The British system didn't work. Addiction levels rose, especially among teenagers, and many addicts chose to boycott the program and continued to get their heroin from pushers.

In 1983, England began switching over to methadone and stopped dispensing heroin from the clinics, and that caused even more addicts to depart in favor of the real thing. According to the late John Kaplan of Stanford University, the number of addicts increased fivefold. James Q. Wilson states that the British Government's experiment with controlled heroin distribution resulted in, at a minimum, a 30fold increase in the number of addicts in ten years.

The Netherlands, despite its controlled program, is having troubles. Under the socalled "expediency principle" Dutch law protects individuals from prosecution for acts that are technically illegal, including the retaillevel sales and purchase of marijuana and hashish. Dutch police are also instructed to ignore streetlevel sales of all types of drugs.

The Amsterdam Municipal Health Service showed a rise in hardcore addicts in 1992, attributable to a significant rise in the local heroin supply which led to a price drop of as much as 75%.

Switzerland has become a magnet for drug users the world over. One thing small European nations have learned is a little tolerance about drugs brings a lot of unwelcome visitors. In 1987, Zurich permitted drug use and sales in a part of the city called the "Platzspitz", dubbed "Needle Park." Five years later the experiment was curtailed after an influx of addicts and increased violence and deaths. In 1992, Zurich Municipal spokesman Andres Ohler told the New York Times that the number of regular drug users at the park had swelled from a few hundred in 1987 to 20,000 by 1992. After the Platzspitz closed, the price of heroin reportedly doubled.




DEA Statement

The Facts

A number of European cities have taken the initiative of organizing a Conference

for Cities Against the Legalization of Drugs. One of the aims of the conference is

to adopt a resolution to enable towns that have not participated in the conference to

support its work.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The tide of the drug policy debate began to turn against the DEA with the advent of the Resolution for a Federal Commission on Drug Policy (sometimes referred to as the Hoover Resolution). A copy of this Resolution and a list of some of the major signers is included in this book.

The purpose of the conference is to increase cooperation between cities, to provide

inspiration and hope for areas with particularly difficult drug problems. The signatories to the resolution will affirm their decision to fight against the spread of drugs.

The DEA apparently thought the Resolution for a Federal Commission on Drug Policy was so important that they figured they had to trump up something to counter it. The result is this really phony and poorly worded resolution against drugs. It is notable that the DEA did not name any of the people who signed this resolution on behalf of their entire city.


Some facts which help to confirm the observations of the forum participants may be used in debates:

In April, 1994, a number of European cities signed a resolution titled "European Cities Against Drugs," commonly known as the Stockholm resolution. It states: "The demands to legalize illicit drugs should be seen against the background of current problems, which have led to a feeling of helplessness. For many, the only way to cope is to try to administer the current situation. But the answer does not lie in making harmful drugs more accessible, cheaper and socially acceptable. Attempts to do this have not proved successful. We believe that legalizing drugs will, in the long term, increase our problems. By making them legal, society will signal that it has resigned to the acceptance of drug abuse. The signatories to this resolution therefore want to make their position clear by rejecting the proposals to legalize illicit drugs."

It is interesting to note the differences between the Resolution for a Federal Commission on Drug Policy and this resolution. The biggest difference is that the Resolution for a Federal Commission on Drug Policy does not say anything about "legalization" but simply asks for an objective review of the evidence. The DEA's resolution does not call for any objective review of the evidence and, in fact, rejecting even the idea of a discussion of alternatives.

Pointing to the appropriate international treaties which require nations to "protect children from the illicit use of narcotic drugs," the signatories state that they "reject all demands for legalizing illicit drugs... We request that our Governments respect and with determination apply those conventions and agreements regarding drugs which they have signed."

Again, the DEA's resolution calls for a blind rejection of any ideas but there own, without consideration of any evidence.

The cities signing this resolution include: Berlin, Stockholm, Budapest, Dublin, Gdansk (Poland), Gothenburg (Sweden), Helsinki, Paris, Lugano (Switzerland), Madrid, Malmo (Sweden), Moscow, Oslo, Prague, London, Reykjavik (Iceland), Riga (Latvia), St. Petersburg (Russia), Tallinn (Estonia), Valletta (Malta) and Warsaw.

It is notable that the DEA does not mention who in these cities signed on behalf of the entire city. It is also notable that many of the cities are former Soviet Union cities with little experience in these areas.

A study by the Rotterdam Municipal Council shows that the number of cocaine users there has risen substantially. About 3.3% of all Rotterdam residents over 15 years of age or approximately 12,000 people now use cocaine.

Violent crime is also a major problem in the Netherlands. A 1992 study of crime victims in twenty (mostly European) countries ranks the Netherlands as the number one country in Europe for assaults and threats.

The Dutch Criminal Intelligence Service reported 104 gunrelated deaths in the Netherlands in 1992, compared to 73 in 1991. Almost all involved drug disputes. Robberies have also increased in each of the four years since 1988.

The Netherlands, smaller than West Virginia, has more than 50 clinics supplying methadone to heroin addicts, and drug violators make up a large percentage of prisoners in the Dutch prison system.

Zurich authorities moved many addicts to a new site, a nearby abandoned railway station, a few blocks north of Needle Park. Here, addicts receive clean needles and are allowed to inject heroin and consume other drugs. Writing in Drug Abuse Update in 1994, Sue Rusche, executive director of National Families in Action, gave this description of what passersby can see if they look down from the Kornhaus Bridge:

"Most people think shots are bloodless events. A nurse inserts a needle, injects a medicine and you're on your way. But here, bright red blood streams down arms, necks, legs, feet and groins as addicts inject themselves. Festering red and purple sores filled with pus, old blood and filthy scabs stretch from wrist to elbow, ankle to knee."


Contents | Feedback | Search | DRCNet Home Page | Join DRCNet

DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library | The Drug Legalization Debate