"A realistic drugs policy in Belgium, please"

In an open letter senators and professors are calling for a more realistic drugs policy in Belgium. A report by the department of public health reveals that many illicit drugs contain hazardous substances which puts extra strain on the heart. The signatories of the open letter think the market should be followed more closely and that illicit drugs should be tested for quality.

Seven out of ten drug-related deaths in Belgium are caused by an overdose of heroine. Drug analysis has determined that the composition of heroine and other illicit drugs is changing and that they are laced with different substances than they used to be.

Xtc pills that were analysed, for example, contained other ingredients such as caffeine and amphetamines. They reinforce the effect of the pills but can be dangerous, even lethal, because they put extra strain on the heart or have a diuretic effect.

An analysis of cannabis that has been seized by the authorities shows that it is sometimes laced with stronger substances than in the past. The levels of THC, the active substance in cannabis, is often above 15 percent. This means that cannabis is three times stronger than a normal joint.

"A realistic drugs policy in Belgium, please"

In an open letter some senators and professors are calling for a more realistic drugs policy in Belgium. The signatories include senators Paul Wille (Flemish liberal), Jean-Jacques De Gucht (Flemish liberal) and Freya Piryns (Flemish green). Athlete Cedric Van Branteghem and singer Walter Grootaers are also among the signatories.

The signatories think that the drugs market should be followed more closely and that illicit drugs should be tested for their quality. In the Netherlands there is an institute that analyses drug samples. When so-called 'dirty drugs' are found the news is immediately made public. The signatories of the open letter are in favour of such a system in Belgium. The situation as it is now is far from reality, say the signatories.