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Seminar on “Drug Abuse Policy and Smuggling Situation of the Netherlands” in the Agency of Corrections by Professor Dina Siegel from Utrecht University of the Netherlands 2017/4/12

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  • Last updated:2019-03-20
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In order to understand the new international trend of drug policy, the Agency of Corrections have invited Professor Dina Siegel from Utrecht University to visit Taipei Prison and to give a seminar on drug policy on the 10th of April, 2017.
  Professor Dina Siegel is currently the director and department head of Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology of Utrecht University. She specializes in transnational organized crime, crime movement (e.g., human trafficking, smuggling, European refugee issues, etc.), drug crime, organized crime, research in red-light district in the Netherlands and decriminalization. She also participates in many international academic organizations (i.e., European Society of Criminology, International Organized Crime Research Society of American Society of Criminology). This time, the topic of seminar was “Drug Abuse Policy and Smuggling Situation of the Netherlands”.

  The Netherlands have already decriminalized the use of soft drug (but it is still illegal to manufacture drugs or to sell drugs outside of the specified cafés). The purpose of the decriminalization is to contain people’s drug use situation in the authority’s hand, rather than to make the drug trade and usage situation submerges into the illegal market. In addition, Prof. Siegel have shown, with the statistic of reality, that the Netherlands’ number of marijuana user does not increase after the decriminalization of it; in fact, the number of marijuana user is just similar to that of the European mean level. The number of marijuana user of the Netherlands is even low than that of the countries that have not decriminalized the use of marijuana yet (i.e., Italy and France). These findings go against the misunderstanding that decriminalization is a mean of encouraging the use of drug.

  As for the drug addicts, Prof. Siegel considered them as patients rather than criminals. Drug addicts in the Netherlands must receive clinical treatments by the clinics of the health authority. If these “patients” were sent to the Agency of Corrections, not only the treatment effect would be much reduced, there was also the patients’ stigmatization issue due to the admission to the Agency of Corrections as well as the patients’ difficulty of merging with the society. Taiwan can benefit and learn from these perspectives.

  At last, Prof. Siegel mentioned that the absolute prohibition of drugs would provide very limited effect to drug abuse reduction. The need of drugs is global. The need would not be decreased but transferred. Therefore, Prof. Siegel suggested that we should encourage every country’s lawmakers to think out of the box, to make a better decision, to minimize the harm of drugs and to have a good control of them.

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