Rotterdam mayor calls for end to lax stance on middle-class drug use

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The mayor of a city on the frontline of the illegal drug trade has said that a “negligent” attitude to recreational drug use, including an acceptance of cocaine as the middle-class narcotic of choice, has led to violence and corruption in Europe’s poorest neighbourhoods.

As the Netherlands digests three life sentences handed out in the criminal trial of drug baron Ridouan Taghi and his “well-oiled murder machine” gang, Ahmed Aboutaleb, mayor of Rotterdam, has demanded authorities take a tougher line on cocaine use.

In contrast with the mayor of Amsterdam, who has called for the regulation of the sale and use of cocaine as a means of hitting dealers’ profits, Aboutaleb wants authorities to clamp down harder on recreational use. Rotterdam, home to Europe’s biggest port, is one of the continent’s main north-western gateways for drug smugglers, along with Antwerp and Le Havre.

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