Netherlands Country Drug Report 2019

Quality assurance

Dutch national policy envisages that all treatment interventions, irrespective of their provision, should be evidence based and comply with prevailing guidelines. Together with the institutes for mental health care, the institutes for addiction care are organised within the Dutch Association of Mental Health and Addiction Care (GGZ Nederland), which supports the quality management of addiction care by means of the programme ‘Scoring Results’ (Resultaten Scoren). In 2017, the Dutch Addiction Association (DAA, Verslavingskunde Nederland) was established, a network that includes institutes for addiction care, client organisations, knowledge centres, and the GGZ Nederland and Resultaten Scoren. The DAA attempts to enhance the quality of addiction care in the Netherlands. The development of quality standards and registrations is partly performed by the Foundation Quality Standards Mental Health Care. This foundation developed and published guidelines for the treatment of opioid addiction (2017) and guidelines for the treatment of non-opioid drug abuse (2018).

The national infrastructure for the governance and coordination of the implementation of best practices comprises the Minister and the State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), who is advised by GGZ Nederland, the National Health Care Institute (Zorginstituut Nederland) and the Trimbos Institute.

In addition, the Minister and the State Secretary can initiate the development of quality standards and guidelines for best practices by the DAA and the Quality Institute. These quality standards and guidelines are implemented by the health insurance companies so that only qualified evidence-based best practices are funded. The Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) and the Healthcare Inspectorate (IGZ) monitor the implementation of the best practices. The accreditation system is operated by the CIBG Agency, an executive organisation within the VWS. Every professional working in the healthcare sector and in contact with patients has to be registered at the ‘BIG registry’. As of 1 January 2017, all providers of mental health care are obliged to disclose a quality statute. This statute will be reviewed by a board every 2 years.

Academic curricula, continuing education programmes and refresher courses for professionals are offered by universities and institutes for higher education, and degrees can be obtained at BSc and MSc levels. There is a specific master’s degree in Addiction Medicine at Radboud University.


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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.