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Drug Abuse in the Netherlands

KENNETH R. KILTY, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(7):787. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160190017008.
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Sir.—The October 1991 issue of AJDC contained an article by Schwartz1 regarding drug abuse. While I do not wish to debate the issues involved in the article, I would like to discuss the statistics used in one paragraph in particular.

The article states, "In the Netherlands, results of a drug use survey published more than 6 years ago noted that only 4% of adolescents of all ages ever tried cannabis (marijuana). A more recent survey of AMsterdam residents revealed that 32% of boys and 24% of girls between the ages of 16 and 19 years had ever tried cannabis." We are to conclude from this that cannabis use has increased drastically, presumably due to legalization of the drug. I question whether a study conducted "in the Netherlands," which I presume involved the whole country (the article does not say), can be compared with a study conducted in Amsterdam,

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