Drugs coordinator calls for more focus on dangers of synthetic drugs

National drugs coordinator and UGent professor Charlotte Colman calls for more attention and a stricter approach to synthetic drugs such as ecstasy. "While Antwerp and the cocaine problem are under a magnifying glass, there is a danger that we will lose focus on other problems," she told De Standaard on Friday.

Belgium is a major producer of cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines. This production is becoming more extensive and more professional. "This phenomenon may be less visible than cocaine, but it is no less harmful," says Colman. As well as tackling cocaine smuggling and the serious violence it causes, she wants to see more focus on the impact of cannabis and synthetic drug production.

Short-term approach

There have been numerous incidents in recent years involving chemical drug waste. Labs are regularly found, especially in the Belgian-Dutch border region, but they are popping up all over Belgium.

"The focus is mainly on cleaning up the lab and the waste. Unfortunately, this is only a short-term approach," says Colman. "Less attention is paid to the environmental impacts, including the long-term harmful effects on the environment and public health." Drug waste ends up in waterways, animal feed and possibly on land people buy.

"There is a general awareness that we have a problem with drug-related organised crime"

She raised the issue at the Ghent Court of Appeal's opening of the judicial year. "There is a general awareness that we have a problem with drug-related organised crime. But, the sense of urgency that we see with the problems around cocaine is not as strong with other drug markets. They are less visible but no less important."


#FlandersNewsService | Illustration picture shows civil protection service with chemical drug waste that was dumped along the Maas in Kotem, Maasmechelen © BELGA PHOTO PINO MISURACA

Related news

Website preview
Belgium signs agreement with Costa Rica to ramp up war on drugs
Belgium and Costa Rica will cooperate more closely in the fight against international drug trafficking. Belgian Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne and Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves Robles signed an agreement to this effect on Tuesday.
Website preview
Hamburg to join Antwerp and Rotterdam in efforts against war on drugs
The port of Hamburg wants to work with Antwerp and Rotterdam in the war on drugs, the mayor of Hamburg, Peter Tschentscher, said on Monday. Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever visited the German port city to discuss plans for the operation.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels