Bonger Institute at the University of Amsterdam, NL
Ton Nabben is currently employed, a multidiscipline research group within the Faculty of Law. Research within the institute focuses on lifestyle, crime and criminalisation processes with the more specific themes of drug use, drug dealing, homelessness, prostitution and multiculturality. As a cultural criminologist he is involved in several ongoing qualitative drug trend studies on a national level (Trendwatch) and local level in Amsterdam (Antenna). His focus is on new drug trends, changing markets and more specifically the role of trendsetters in nightlife. Nabben recently earned his doctorate with his dissertation: ‘High Amsterdam. Rhythm, rush and rules in nightlife’.
In the Netherlands, a significant shift in policy with regard to drug users can be observed. Originally, ecstasy was predominantly defined as a ‘pleasure pill’, whereas today, Dutch policy makers increasingly associate the substance with health problems. The police are present at festivals and dance parties, bouncers are instructed to (body-)search all visitors, and police dogs are used at the venue to detect drugs. Theoretically framed by a critical discussion of the historical and theoretical roots of zero-tolerance, this article uses qualitative and quantitative data to answer three questions, relating to the national level and more specifically to Amsterdam. What is the effect of this new zero tolerance policy in practice? How have drug users and drug dealers reacted to the repressive measures, which sometimes include drug detection dogs? What developments have occurred in the drug trade and in the use of recreational substances?