April 13. 2024. 6:13

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Dutch outlaw 100 substances linked to drug production

To crack down on crime and improve public health, the Netherlands will ban the possession, transport and sale of more than 100 chemical materials linked to the production of hard drugs, Justice and Security Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius and Health, Welfare and Sports Minister Ernst Kuipers announced on Wednesday.

In recent years, the Netherlands has turned into one of the EU’s main import centres for drugs – especially cocaine, which is increasingly being consumed across the continent. Together with Belgium, the country has vowed to increase its efforts to tackle drug smuggling.

“Organised crime tries to make as much money as possible from the production and trade of hard drugs with ruthless violence. Owners of warehouses and sheds are put under pressure to set up drug labs, our environment is seriously polluted by dumping chemical waste, assassinations take place in the streets, and façades are blown up with explosives,” said Yeşilgöz-Zegerius.

The materials which fall under the ban – so-called “precursors” – are exclusively used in the production of hard drugs. Among them are phenylacetone and piperonyl methyl ketone (PMK), used to make speed and ecstasy.

The ban, which takes effect on 1 April, is based on a law from last year, which prohibited the possession of raw materials used for producing hard drugs. However, law enforcement needed to prove that the individual knew that the raw materials could be used to make hard drugs, rendering the law less effective. With the new ban, this is no longer the case.

“By banning these 100+ chemicals, investigating agencies can act sooner against the criminal structures of this violent industry. Just possessing and transporting the raw materials to make hard drugs will become punishable. We can also act more jointly internationally with countries where these substances are already banned,” Yeşilgöz-Zegerius added.

Yeşilgöz-Zegerius and Kuipers will also launch a new expert group to keep the list of banned precursors up to date. New precursors will be added to the list because they can be used to produce hard drugs and no legal use for the material is known.

(Benedikt Stöckl | EURACTIV.com)