More than 100 chemical raw materials for the production of hard drugs banned

With effect from 1 April of this year more than 100 chemical raw materials - so-called as precursors - will be banned because they are only used to manufacture hard drugs. This was decided by Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius of Justice and Security and Minister Kuipers of Public Health, Welfare and Sport on the advice of experts.

By means of the ban the Ministers intend to protect public health as well as to break up and dismantle criminal structures in the production of and trade in hard drugs. In addition, the Ministers have set up a group of experts to keep the list of drug precursors up to date. This will make it possible to take action continuously when new raw materials for hard drugs emerge.

“Organised crime tries to earn as much money as possible from the production and sale of hard drugs with ruthless violence. Owners of sheds and warehouses are pressured for the creation a drug labs, our environment is seriously polluted as a result of the dumping of chemical waste, liquidations take place in the street and building facades are blown up with explosives. The banning of these more than 100 chemicals enables investigative services to take action sooner against the criminal structures of this violent industry. The mere possession and transport of the raw materials for manufacturing hard drugs will already become punishable. It will also allow us to work together more effectively internationally with countries where these substances are already prohibited”,

according to Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius.

Banning the chemical raw materials is possible due to the Criminal Prosecution of Undermining Crime Act I, which entered into force on 1 January 2022. Since then it has been illegal to import, export, transport or have drug precursors available. This is liable to a maximum term of imprisonment of 6 years. In order to create the list of prohibited substances, advice was requested from a group of experts of the Public Prosecution Service, the police, the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD, the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), Customs, the Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry and the Association of Traders in Chemical Products.

Expert group

Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius and Minister Kuipers also decided to set up the Precursors Expert Group with effect from 1 April of this year, which includes experts from the organisations involved. The formation of the Expert Group will make it possible to update a list of drug precursors with newly emerging chemical substances. Designating the prohibited substances is subject to two conditions: they can be used for the illicit production of drugs and they have no known legal application.

Keeping the national list up to date will make it possible to disrupt the illegal production process of hard drugs permanently. This will make it easier to deal with criminals who transport and/or possess the drug precursors. Previously, it still had to be proved every time that these persons could have known that it concerned raw materials for hard drugs. This will no longer be necessary by keeping the national list up to date.