Illegal drugs cost Netherlands € 4.1 billion per year, report says


The Dutch government has given parliamentarians an extraordinary assessment of the cost of the gang drug industry to society, estimating that it drains up to € 4.1 billion from the treasury each year – and puts around € 16 billion euros in “black money”. »In circulation.

After six months of an interim government and an as-is budget on Tuesday, Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus’s long-awaited figures were the culmination of a day usually dominated by the King’s opening of parliament and the political spending priorities for the year. before.

Developed by the Justice Department in response to warnings that organized crime gangs are turning the Netherlands into a “narco-state,” the figures released to MPs and Senators assess the cumulative cost of drugs, when they has an impact on society, between € 3.2 and € 4.1 billion per year.

Vicious gangs

As you might expect, the biggest part of this overall bill is the police, which costs between € 1.1 billion and € 1.6 billion – although police unions admit they are being foiled by increasingly vicious international gangs laundering money in shops, restaurants and a booming real estate market.

Research shows that 20 percent of those in prison have drug connections, and thus the administration of justice and prison management totals perhaps as much as another billion euros – between 170 and 270 million euros. ‘euros for the former and between € 400 million and € 700 million for the latter.

At the same time, the cost to the Dutch medical system of drug treatment amounts to an additional 250 million euros each year.

Analysis of social protection costs shows that around 5 percent of all unemployment benefits are drug-related, at a cost of 320 million euros per year. The same figure of 5% also applies to disability insurance, at a cost of 200 million euros.

Criminal careers

The costs to the economy are also considerable, estimated at some 600 million euros: around 550 million euros per year to fight money laundering – and, more poignantly, the loss of around 47 million euros. euros per year for the economic cost of young people who leave school early for a criminal career.

What is not included in the report is the cost of police corruption, which is becoming a growing problem given the scale of drug revenues.

Dozens of officers were forcibly suspended or fired in 2019 following investigations into corruption at all levels, which revealed violations of the official secretary, dereliction of duty, fraud, forgery. computers and misuse of information from police computers.

The results were described at the time as “the tip of the iceberg”.

“Criminals sneak up on officers and apply pressure; it happens at all levels, ”said Jan Struijs of the police union, NPD. “The reality is, in today’s world, agents need training to handle it. “

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