This document answers more than 30 question about Dutch policy on drugs. The aim of policy is to prevent drug use, and reduce the harm drugs cause. The main instruments are information for schools and campaigns highlighting the risks posed by drug use. Needle supply and exchange schemes are forms of accessible care which aim to prevent injecting drug users from contracting HIV/AIDS, or experiencing other negative effects.
In the Netherlands, a distinction is made between hard drugs and cannabis. The sale of cannabis in coffee shops is a misdemeanour, but offenders are not prosecuted if they meet certain very strict conditions. The idea is that if cannabis users are kept away from illegally operating dealers, the chance of them coming into contact with hard drugs is smaller.
Three ministries are responsible for policy on drugs. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for enforcement, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport for prevention and care, and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations for matters relating to local government and the police.