August de Loor started his work on drugs and drug use in the early 1970’s. He was one of the co-founders of the ‘junkie union’ Medical Service Heroine Users (MDHG), the first interest group in the Netherlands by and for hard drugs addicts. Instead of referring heroin users, the MDHG was of the opinion that primary care should be the main focus. “We weren’t going to lock up junkies in prisons or distant clinics, but provide care in the city where they were taken seriously,” states August de Loor in a recent interview with Dutch newspaper Het Parool.
This ensured low-threshold assistance in an environment familiar to the user. It also changed the image of hard drug users who until then were mainly seen as nuisance to society. In 1986, August de Loor started with the Drugs Advisory Service. As a drugs consultant he was the connection between the local and national government on one hand and the various associations for coffee shops and smart shops on the other.
August started the Safe House Campaign in the nineties and became a founder of the test system for drugs at parties and festivals that is still used today. Several initiatives originally launched by August de Loor are still part of Amsterdam’s drug prevention policy.
In the Netherlands, illegal drugs like ecstasy, cocaine and amphetamines can be tested legally on the quality at official drug test places. Companies that offer drug testing service do this to increase the safety for the user by providing them with important information, like the dosis of MDMA in a pill.
The Frans Banninck Cocq Medal is awarded to people who have dedicated themselves to Amsterdam for at least twelve years. People who’ve made exceptionally great achievements for Amsterdam also get the medal. De Loor received the medal in December from deputy mayor Eric van der Burg.
Others who recently received the honorary medal are cabaret artist Jetty Mathurin and Huub van Riel of the Bimhuis. The former director of the Amsterdam zoo Artis, Haig Balian, also received a medal.
Back in January 2016 we interviewed August, which you can read over here. In the interview Dutch drug policies are discussed and how August got his interest in this subject matter. August de Loor is also featured in our new Amsterdam audio tour in which he tells more about the history of drugs in Amsterdam, drug testing, “coffeeshops” and safe drug use.