Posted on: August 30, 2018
Dutch drug gangs produced at least € 18.9 billion of ecstasy and amphetamine in the Netherlands in 2017. Most probably the actual turnover was significantly higher. These striking numbers come from a new study done by the Dutch Police Academy.
The € 18.9 billion is higher than the annual turnover of a Dutch company such as Philips and around two times the Dutch defence budget. It can be regarded as the contribution of Dutch drug gangs towards the illegal world economy. A substantial part of that amount – estimated to be around three to five billion euros – goes straight towards the pockets of the Dutch drug gangs themselves, according to the research led by Pieter Tops, professor at Tilburg University.
The researchers have spent a year and a half working on their report, entitled: “waar een klein land groot in kan zijn” (ways in which a small country can be great). They concentrated on the year 2017 and on just the production of a xtc and amphetamines (speed). Cannabis, cocaine and heroin were left out of consideration.
The four researchers speak of ‘an inconvenient truth’. More than 600 million grams of amphetamine were produced in the Netherlands in 2017 and nearly one billion ecstasy pills. The Dutch National Police, the Public Prosecution Service and the Brabant-Zeeland Task Force had asked for a documented insight into the scale of the trade. Up to now, there were no such insights. According to the researchers, synthetic drugs are a national problem. A problem with international consequences for the position and image of the Netherlands.
This global top position can be explained by, among other things, the great location and infrastructure of the Netherlands. The Dutch tolerant attitude towards to the use and production of synthetic drugs also plays an major role. There currently is a shortage of investigating officers, as a result the chances of getting caught are small. And the penalties for drug crimes are low. Dutch drug gangs, however, are the root of a great deal of violence in society. According to the researchers, a broad international approach should be top priority for the current and of future Dutch governments.
According to Minister Ferd Grapperhaus (Justice), the report spells out the seriousness of the drug problem and the role of the Netherlands. He finds it “shocking when you see it all put together like this”. The minister says that he’s aware of the “shameful position” of the Netherlands in the international ranking of drug-producing countries. “I have realized the urgency. We have to put a lot of effort into this, we will do that and we will do it even more strongly.” says the minister, who has made available extra capacity and money to tackle the problem.