Arjan Nuijten defends PhD thesis on the history of Dutch drug policy

HHH member Arjan Nuijten has recently defended his PhD thesis entitled “Regulating Paradise. The Local Origins of Harm Reduction in the Netherlands” at the University of Amsterdam. His dissertation examined drug policy in three local Dutch contexts; Amsterdam, Arnhem, and Heerlen, in relation to national drug policy.

In an interview with Folia, Arijan talked about some of the most striking findings of his dissertation. On the topic of current drug policy, he noted that although “the measures themselves are tolerant… they did not arise from tolerance but rather from disturbances. Take the heroin use that emerged in the 1970s in many large Dutch cities. The police’s first reaction was to combat the nuisance caused by heroin use by arresting and driving people away. Only when heroin use became more widespread and problematic in the early 1980s and users increasingly ended up on the streets and in the criminal circuit were harm reduction measures introduced.”

Congratulations to Arjan for carrying out this crucial research and for successfully defending his thesis.