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Licit and Illicit Drug Use in Amsterdam, 1987 to 2001


Author: Manja D. Abraham, Hendrien L. Kaal, Peter D.A. Cohen
Pages: 80
Language: English
Date: 2003
ISBN: 90 5330 379 0
Price: € 20


Since 1987, the prevalence of use of the most popular licit and illicit drugs was systematically measured in Amsterdam. This report presents an overview of the main results of five drug use prevalence surveys amongst the population of Amsterdam aged 12 years and over, conducted by the Centre for Drug Research (CEDRO) at the University of Amsterdam. The surveys were conducted in 1987, 1990, 1994, 1997 and 2001 and measured the prevalence of use of a range of licit and illicit drugs at these particular points in time. Substances included in the study are alcohol, tobacco, hypnotics, sedatives, cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, hallucinogens, mushrooms, a range of opiates, inhalants and performance enhancing drugs.

Data presented in this book give an overview of recent trends in drug use in Amsterdam. It appears that a small but growing minority is using illicit drugs. Since 1987, the proportion of the Amsterdam population ever having used cannabis - the most popular illicit drug - has increased from 23.2% to 38.1% in 2001. Youth use of cannabis in the last month before the interview in the age group 12-15 has increased in Amsterdam from 0.6% in 1987 to 3.1% in 2001. Comparable developments of increasing drug use were also found in other European countries and in the US. The measurements of "last month" use allow the conclusion that the majority of users are only temporary consumers. Approximately 5.6% of the population would smoke cannabis once a month or more in 1987, in 2001 this figure increased to 7.8% of the Amsterdam population.

In the context of international research and policy, the Dutch situation is often taken as an indication of what might happen in the case of loosening or tightening the drug policy. Amsterdam takes a special position in the Netherlands: compared to the rest of the Netherlands, drug use is still most prevalent in Amsterdam. In this context, the trend data following the drug use of the population of Amsterdam through a period of 14 years will provide important factual and valuable information.

Last update: May 25, 2016