10 Drugs Facts And Statistics

This overview contains 10 interesting drugs facts from the Netherlands that reflect the liberal Dutch drug policy. Alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, magic truffles and other things are part of this sheet with drugs facts, statistics and sources.

1 | There Are 164 Coffeeshops in Amsterdam

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam Guide
A coffeeshop in Amsterdam famous from the movie Ocean’s Twelve.

People often ask: How many coffeeshops are in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam has currently 164 coffeeshops. In the Netherlands, coffeeshops are businesses where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption by the public is tolerated by the Dutch authorities.

The number of coffeeshops in Amsterdam has drastically decreased. In 1993 there were more than 400 coffeeshops in Amsterdam. This decreased from 283 in the year 2000, from 222 coffeeshops in 2011, to 174 at the end of 2015 (a decrease of 39% ). At present there are 164 coffeeshops in Holland’s capital. (Source)

In the Netherlands it is illegal to grow cannabis for (commercial) sale. It’s only allowed to have a maximum of 5 cannabis plants for own use. Because of this Dutch opium law, coffeeshop owners in the Netherlands are forced to buy their cannabis illegally from criminals.

2 | Low Cannabis Use In The Netherlands

amsterdam weed history

With cannabis easily available a lot of people expect that the Dutch are heavy cannabis users. But research from 2016 by Holland’s most preeminent drug addiction treatment authority showed that 1,6% of the Dutch population smoke on a daily basis. This around 270.000 persons on a population of around 17.2 million. 4,1% indicated that they had used cannabis in the last month. Overall 23,7% of the Dutch have used cannabis at least once in their life. (Source)

3 | The Netherlands Is Biggest XTC Producer In The World

hard drugs facts xtc
15 XTC pills.

The Netherlands holds the global top spot when it comes to the production of XTC. In 2017, research estimated that a total of 1 billion XTC pills were produced each year in the Netherlands. In total Dutch criminals produced at least € 18.9 billion of ecstasy and amphetamines in 2017 (Holland’s defence budget is around € 11 billion). (Source)

This position can be explained by, among other things, the great location and infrastructure of the Netherlands. The Dutch tolerant attitude towards the use and production of synthetic drugs also plays a major role. There currently is a shortage of detectives, as a result the chances of getting caught are small. And the penalties for drug crimes are relatively low in the Netherlands.

Drug Prices in the Netherlands

XTC pills pictures

The production cost of a single XTC pill is around 0,20 euro cents in the Netherlands. One XTC pill can easily bring in around 25,- euros in Australia. You can get XTC comparatively cheap in Amsterdam. In the Netherlands, the average market price is 4 Euro for a high quality XTC pill. (Source)

4 | There Are 31 Drug Testing Centers In The Netherlands

drug testing centers in Amsterdam
Jellinek’s drug testing center in Amsterdam (image: Google Maps).

In the Netherlands there are 31 drug testing centers where people can get their illegal drugs tested. Most of these drug testing centers are located in the major cities in the country. Amsterdam has a few. These legal businesses test the content of illegal drugs (XTC/MDMA, amphetamines, cocaine, LSD etc.) and it’s 100% legal. These organisations share their knowledge, the content of the drugs, the effects and risks.

Harm Reduction Model

An example of harm reduction in Amsterdam.

The use of drugs is not without risks. It is therefore good to inform yourself about the effects and health risks of a substance. Fortunately that is possible in the Netherlands. Therefore it is recommended you always gets the drugs tested so that you know what and how much is in it. This is the Dutch approach on informing people about drugs: harm-reduction. In Amsterdam there are two official drug test labs called GGD and Jellinek. These drug testing centers are mostly visited by locals. For just 2,50 euro per sample one can get illegal drugs tested legally in Amsterdam. In other Dutch cities – Hilversum, Amersfoort and Utrecht – these drug testing services are even free. (Source)

XTC pills can sometimes be recognised on the spot in the drugs-database of GGD/Jellinek. In that case one immediately gets a test result. Unrecognised XTC pills and all other types of drugs must be sent for a lab analysis.

5 | Free Addiction Treatment Programs In The Netherlands

drugs facts and comparisons
Public drinking laws in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

Addiction care falls under everyone’s health insurance policy in the Netherlands. If one need help getting rid of any addiction, the costs will be fully reimbursed by Dutch health insurers. This also applies to clinic admissions. A large part of the treatments at Holland’s largest and most known institute for addiction care – Jellinek – are based on cognitive behavioural therapy. One can also follow treatments based on the Minnesota-model. Jellinek offers all types of addiction treatments; alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, gaming, gambling, tobacco, sex, etcetera. All are fully reimbursed by Dutch health insurers.

There are even (Dutch) addiction-clinics in South Africa that are also fully reimbursed by Dutch insurance. A person only needs to pay its deductible amount – usually between 300 and 450 euro. (Source)

6 | Low Heroin Use In The Netherlands

Amsterdam, Nieuwmarkt, 1984. An addict doing a shot of heroin.

According to a latest estimate in 2012, there are 14.000 problematic opiate users in the Netherlands. In addition to opiates, this group uses almost all also crack cocaine. In 2009, there were an estimated 3.023 problematic opiate users in Amsterdam.

At the start of the 1970’s there were 0 heroin addicts in the Netherlands, in 1980 there were 10,000 heroin addicts in Amsterdam alone and 30,000 in the Netherlands. A true public health crisis!

Most heroin addicts in the Netherlands use a method whereby heroin is burned on aluminum foil and the vapour is inhaled. The heroin users who inject the drugs is 30% in the Netherlands. (Source)

7 | Alcohol Consumption In The Netherlands

Dutch beer brands
Four Dutch beer brands.

Alcohol is also a drug and should therefore be mentioned in this sheet with 10 drugs facts.

In 2017, 79,5% of all Dutch adults had drunk alcohol in the past year. That’s 11 million people. In the general population (15 years and older), the Netherlands is one of the EU member states where the least liters of alcohol per head are consumed. Alcohol consumption is more common among the highly educated than among the lower educated. 88.4% of highly educated Dutch people say they sometimes drink alcohol, compared to 67.3% of those with a low educational level. (Source)

Research done in between 2007 – 2009 showed that the Netherlands had almost 400.000 alcohol abusers and 82.400 alcohol addicts. In 2015 a total of 29.374 people were registered with addiction care in the Netherlands, with alcohol consumption being the primary problem. (Source)

9 | High Cocaine Use In The Netherlands

Netherlands Drug Use
A map of the Netherlands in cocaine.

In 2017, approximately 1.8% of the Dutch population aged 18 and older had used cocaine in the past year. Approximately 250.000 people. This percentage is only higher in the United states, United kingdom and Australia. (Source)

The percentage Dutch that had ever used cocaine rose from 5.2% in 2017 to 5.62% in 2018. The number of young users at festivals and in clubs is increasing. However, the number of problem users is decreasing. Daily cocaine consumption in the Netherlands amounts to around 8-10 kg per day. Amsterdam alone takes up 4 kg of that. (Source)

Dutch Cocaine Factory

Dutch Cocaine Factory
This was where the Dutch Cocaine Factory was located

From 1870 till 1919 cocaine was legal in the Netherlands. In the 1910’s the Netherlands was actually a global market leader in the production of cocaine. The Dutch Cocaine Factory was located in the South-West of Amsterdam and people could even invest in this cocaine factory via stocks. Even though cocaine became an illegal substance in 1919 due to the Dutch Opium Law, it could still be produced for export and medical purposes. In the early 1920’s the Dutch Cocaine Factory produced 20% of the world’s cocaine. (Source)

Learn more about the Dutch Cocaine Factory and get many interesting drugs facts during our exciting Amsterdam Drugs Tour.

10 | Drug Smuggling In The Netherlands

drugs fact sheet
Illegal drugs is often smuggled via the Dutch harbours.

A lot of drugs is smuggled into and from the Netherlands. In 2019, the amount of seized cocaine in the port of Rotterdam doubled. 38,000 kilos cocaine was intercepted in 2019, compared to 19,000 kilos in 2018. A 100% increase! In the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp combined a record amount of almost 100,000 kilos of cocaine was intercepted. In 2018 the total was 74,000 kilos. Almost all cocaine that enters via Belgium’s harbours is first transported to the Netherlands before being distributed to Europe. (Source)

It’s estimated that only 10% of the drugs that enter the Netherlands are actually consumed here. The vast majority goes to the rest of Europe.

Amsterdam Drugs Tour

Amsterdam Drugs Facts
A smartshop is a store that sells magic truffles among others.

Hear more drugs facts during our super interesting Amsterdam Drugs Tour. During this 1,5 hour walking tour our local guides explain everything about the liberal Dutch drug policy, the history of drugs, use, effects, war on drugs, prices and much more. Explore the best drug highlights in town while learning everything about drugs in the Netherlands.

BOOK HERE >

Others who read this also read The History of Drugs & Alcohol in the Netherlands and 10 Tips For Cannabis Use in Amsterdam.

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