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Discussing cocaine is not patronising

by News Room
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Rotterdam Mayor Aboutaleb appeals to the international media with his message that the acceptance of the use of drugs such as cocaine leads to corruption, violence and misery in the city. In Caretaker the mayor recently said: “This is because cocaine has been used mainly in the upper parts of society. And it has been considered less serious, just as crime in higher groups is often considered less serious. There is an advanced form of acceptance and socialization around cocaine.”

According to a study by the National Drug Monitor, one in eight students has experience with cocaine. The monitor is an initiative of the mental health information center Trimbos Institute. We do not know the status of university employees, unfortunately Trimbos does not track it. The institute reports that use among young people is increasing – even more so than among adults. In addition, the Netherlands is higher than other European countries. Discussing cocaine use is not easy and seems like a taboo. However, discussion about acceptance and socialization should be possible.

As I walk from the tram to the campus area, I pass a line on the street that says “no smoking”. In the faculty’s coffee machine, the cardboard cups have been replaced with durable mugs. At the university, there is a debate from time to time about the need for a vegetarian or even vegan food and drink selection. These are things that were often seen as moralizing and patronizing in the past, but are now widely discussed. Personal lifestyle seems to be more and more a topic of public debate.

of “higher levels of society” what the mayor was talking about is also us, Erasmus students and employees. A university that encourages us with the slogan: “Creating positive social impacts”. Mayor Aboutaleb wants a tough approach to drug criminals, but so far it has yielded little. Another option is to legalize cocaine and thus take it out of the hands of criminals, but the question is how good that is for public health. Reducing the use of cocaine will certainly help: without users, there are no criminals. If we decide that a discussion about smoking, meat, or the use of paper cups is not patronizing, why should a discussion about cocaine use be?

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