Netherlands Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related research

Drug research in the Netherlands is extensive and covers many domains. Public funding of drug-related research is mainly delegated to intermediary agencies, although ministries and municipalities also directly fund research projects. The Ministry of Justice and Security has a special department for conducting and funding social and statistical research, the Research and Documentation Centre (Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek en Documentatie Centrum (WODC)). The WODC funds large and smaller research projects mostly on drug policy and drug supply, which are carried out by different institutes and universities. Fundamental university research is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Many academic institutions are involved in drug research, sometimes in collaboration with researchers from institutes for addiction care. Conferences and training courses are organised every year for drug researchers to stay informed about recent developments.

Researchers from the Netherlands publish their work in national and international scientific journals. Research findings are translated into practice through multidisciplinary evidence-based guidelines, protocols and training materials. Reports on research findings are disseminated through various websites, such as those of the Trimbos Institute, Foundation Scoring Results and the Dutch Association of Practitioners of Addiction Medicine, and the WODC.

Recent drug-related studies mainly focus on aspects related to the consequences of drug use, responses to the drug situation and prevalence, incidence and patterns of drug use. Studies on the mechanisms of drug use and their effects, methodology issues, and supply and markets are also carried out. The Ministry of Justice and Security and the WODC in particular fund research carried out by various universities. The WODC also conducts research (focusing on monitoring of organised crime and criminal recidivism of offenders).

The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development coordinates the European Research Area Network on Illicit Drugs (ERANID). Dutch researchers are involved in seven EU research consortia.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.

Additional note for the Netherlands: Data on number and quantity of seizures do not include all relevant law enforcement units and should be considered partial, minimum figures. Data for amphetamines, heroin and MDMA include seizures by Dutch Customs and the Royal Military Police, but do not include seizures by national or regional police forces. Cocaine seizures represent the majority of large seizures, comprising data from Dutch Customs (including Rotterdam and Vlissingen harbours), the Royal Military Police and the National Police Force, but regional police force data are not included. Cannabis data are limited to police seizures of plants, cuttings and tops seized during dismantlement of cultivation sites. Data on precursors (scheduled and non-scheduled substances) are based exclusively on reports of suspicious transactions of such substances to the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Unit.