Pubdate: Mon, 20 Jul 1998
Source: Washington Times 
Postal: 3600 New York Ave. NE Washington, D.C.  20002
Note: Headline by MAPNews Editor


Statistics flaunted by drug czar Barry McCaffrey regarding alleged Dutch
homicide and marijuana-usage rates are purposely misleading and inaccurate.
While it is unfortunate that a high-ranking U.S. official would stoop to
malign dutch drug policies, it is equally disturbing that a major newspaper
such as The Washington Times would repeat those inaccuracies.

There were a total of 193 homicides in the Netherlands in 1995, according to
the Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics. This equates to a murder rate
of approximately 1.3 per 100,000. This figure is significantly less than
America's 8.3 per 100,000 and nowhere near the 17.58 per 100,000 claimed by
Gen. McCaffrey.

According to the 1996 annual survey data compiled by the University of
Michigan's Monitoring the Future project, 45 percent of American high school
seniors admit they have tried marijuana - not 9.1 percent, as Gen. McCaffrey
claims. This percentage is far greater than the number of Dutch 12th graders
who admit to having tried marijuana. Gen. McCaffrey's data misleads the
public by comparing the percentage of American teens who use marijuana
monthly to the percentage of Dutch teen-agers who have ever tried marijuana.

The Dutch overwhelmingly approve of their current marijuana policies. These
policies seek to normalize rather than dramatize marijuana use and eliminate
marijuana users from the hard-drug market. If Gen. McCaffrey believes that
America's policy of arresting and jailing more than 12 million marijuana
users since 1965 is more effective than the Netherlands's system, he should
find no need to distort the facts and lie to the American people.

Paul Armentano Publications director National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws Washington

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Checked-by: Melodi Cornett