Tagarchief: Health

Illegal drugs, something of the past?

There are an immense amount of discussions about legalizing drugs. A lot of people and parties seems to be in favour of the idea. But why? Aren’t drugs a bad thing? They weren’t illegal for nothing, right? In this blog, I’ll take you through the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing drugs.

Why should we legalize drugs?

Most of the violence associated with illegal drug dealing is caused by its illegality. Legalisation would enable us to regulate the market, determine a much lower price and remove users need to raise funds through crime. Our legal system would be freed up and our prison population dramatically reduced, saving billions. Because of the low price, cigarette smokers do not have to steal to support their habits. There is also no violence associated with the legal tobacco market.

Legalizing drugs makes the quality of them controllable. In this way, drug use will get much safer. This will prevent people from getting sick, infected or dying from the drugs.

Prohibition doesn’t work. There is no evidence to show that prohibition is succeeding. The question we must ask ourselves is, “What are the benefits of criminalising any drug?” If, after examining all the available evidence, we find that the costs outweigh the benefits, then we must seek an alternative policy. Legalisation is not a cure-all but it does allow us to address many of the problems associated with drug use, and those created by prohibition. The time has come for an effective and pragmatic drug policy.

Legalizing and regulating marijuana will bring one of the nation’s largest cash crops under the rule of law. This will create jobs and economic opportunities in the formal economy instead of the illicit market.

Marijuana is already allowed in some American states for medicinal purposes and for some groups, the use of this drug will help thousands of people and even children who suffer from medical conditions. Cancer patients undergoing therapy and those who suffer from depression can benefit from the use of drugs such as marijuana for medical purposes.

On the opposite side, there are very good disadvantages to drugs as well.

Drugs contain chemicals and substances that can cause depression, allergic reactions and other effects. If any individual will be able to buy just any drug over the counter, addiction can result and worse, overdose.

If drugs will be readily available, businesses can commercialize on this and encourage people to buy and eventually be addicted. Even with drug prohibition, addiction is already an existing problem where relationships are ruined, careers dumped and some people become depressed pushing them to the point of ending their lives. These unfortunate events are often drug-related and legalizing drugs will make matters worse.

Drugs create a certain level of dependency. If one earns from a scam, he is likely to come back to it despite its known negative effects. Drugs work in much the same way. An acquired dependency can lead to a vicious cycle of drug use that may become unregulated over time.

In short, legalizing drugs has many advantages against a few, but very strong disadvantages. The discussion will always be going on and changes will be made all the time, but we seem to be moving in the direction of legalizing drugs. When we have a look at the opinion of fifteen of the Dutch political parties, we see that ten of them are for the legalisation of the goods. What do you think? Should drugs be legalized or should they be banned?






Author: Rick van de Sande – Freaders

The Welfare Systems under the loop

Something you probably already knew: Education in the Netherlands is free and accessible for every citizen. Needless to say, right? But it hasn’t always been like that. The Netherlands and many other countries started building up a welfare system after The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as Black Tuesday (October 29). This welfare system is one where the state undertakes to protect the health and well-being of its citizens, especially those in financial or social need, by means of grants, pensions, and other benefits. However, not all countries have the exact same form of welfare state. There are three main models: The Scandinavian, The Anglo-Saxon and The Rhineland/corporatist model. In an article from the New York Times, these models are examined in depth. (A link can be found in the source list) We will take a look at both the different models and what the article has to say about them.

Firstly, let’s find out what those three names mean.

The Scandinavian model is used in countries such as Sweden, Finland and Denmark. It is a combination of a strong social security system and a flexible labour market. The keyword of this model is ‘Flexicurity’. This labour market makes it very easy to find a job and if you are unemployed for a longer time, you are given an individual training course. If you show that you are being retrained, you will also get good benefits. A few disadvantages of this labour market are that losing a job is just as easy as getting one and it is very attractive for people to stay unemployed. They get great benefits and training after all, also avoiding taxes (which usually are very high). However, this doesn’t seem to happen often, as unemployment rates in countries with this model are very low.

“If welfare benefits are generous and taxes high, fewer people will work. Why bother being industrious, after all, if you can get a check from the government for sitting around…” (Source: New York Times)

The social system is very well thought of. Benefits are generous and parents with children get a lot of advantages. “Maternity leave is 96 weeks compared to 16 weeks in the Netherlands.” (Source: Getting to know Dutch Society) Another disadvantage of this system is that the taxes are very high. The model is a very expensive one, especially in the field of child care and education. A welcome advantage is that women’s participation is relatively high.

The Anglo-Saxon model is very built up in a very liberal way. The government doesn’t play an enormous role. A Good entrepreneurial climate is a very important part of the system. Market forces determine the wages there is a flexible labour market. However, those who drop out do have a hard time. Healthcare and education are seen as facilities that people should pay for themselves. This causes many private schools. Benefits are also small and hard to get. On the opposite side, the taxes are very low and people have more choice where they spend money on.

The Rhineland/corporatist model is a combination of the two models mentioned above. A greatly developed collective sector contains the free market. Social security is fairly important but there also is a lot of liberty, just like in the Anglo-Saxon model. Healthcare and education are subsidised by the government. The tax burden is neither high or low but just in between. This is the model that is used in the Netherlands.

The writers of the New York Times article seem to prefer the Scandinavian model above the others. Sentences like “In short, more people may work when countries offer public services that directly make working easier.” and “But even conservatives can see some useful lessons in the Scandinavian system.” Both of these sentences show a preference to the Scandinavian way of providing welfare.

The writers of the article are not the only ones that prefer the Scandinavian system, I agree with them as well, just like many others. Why? Well, there are multiple reasons that I think are worth the high tax burden. The unemployment is low and there is great solidarity. Also, women’s participation is high, so this is more equal. One thing I think is necessary for a well-developed society is a great healthcare. How can you be happy when you are not healthy? In the Scandinavian model, this is taken care of very well. Another effect that subsidising health care has is that the quality of the healthcare is good. There are great hospitals with the newest technological advancements and breakthroughs. Quack doctors will be very uncommon and there won’t be (a lot of) greedy people which value money higher than the well-being of their patients. Another Indispensable factor is education. Education is the basis for a good future. The children that are in school now, will be leading, supporting or working for the world we live in. They should be educated a well as possible, so that we will develop as quick as possible, curing diseases, making life more efficient and easy and solving big problems. This is another reason as to why I think the Scandinavian model is the best one.


Getting to know Dutch Society (book)



Author: Rick van de Sande – Freaders

HPV vaccine, yes or no?

hpv-vaccinFor many years, day in day out, people get vaccinated to prevent or decrease the chance of getting any diseases. Since 2008, girls in Europe from the age of thirteen years old have the opportunity to be vaccinated against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV for short).

These girls get an invitation to get the HPV vaccine in the year they will turn 13. They can decline or choose to get the vaccination. This vaccine aims at decreasing the chance of getting HPV. This virus can cause cells growing abnormal of the skin and mucous membrane. “Mucous membrane: the thin skin that covers the inside surface of parts of the body such as the nose and mouth and produces mucus to protect them~ dictionary.cambridge.org

HPV can also increase the chance of developing different forms of cancer, such as cervical cancer. Some types, if not destroyed by the body, can turn into a sexually transmitted disease. Therefore, to decrease the chance of preteens getting infected with this virus, they get a vaccination against two forms of HPV (HPV16 and HVP18).

A few days ago there was a documentary about this vaccination, more specifically about the side effects of this vaccination. During this documentary, it became clear that there are several girls who, after they were vaccinated, showed symptoms of chronical illnesses. Many suffer from diseases like nausea, headaches, chronic fatigues and others.

In the Netherlands, there are also girls who suffer from these symptoms after the vaccination. The pamphlet that the girls receive when they have turned 13 only describes a few side effects. Such as a red dot forming at the place you have gotten the injection, dizziness and aching muscles. nothing has been stated about possible chronical illnesses.

Researches have been carried out to find out more about the side effects of the HPV-vaccine. One of those research reports found no relation or any proof that the vaccination has anything to do with those symptoms. The girls who suffer from those symptoms and side effects think otherwise. One of the girls, named Geertje Leestra, told in the documentary that immediately after she was vaccinated, she started to get tired very easily, being exhausted, etcetera. She is not the only one: Around the world, there are around seventy thousand cases, all registered in the Vigibase in Sweden. In several countries, mothers are trying to get all the information available to the public, so people can decide if they want to take this risk. They would rather see an improvement of the vaccine so that the side effects will vanish or at least become less severe.

In the Netherlands, there is a program named Rijksvaccinatieprogramma. The program informs the public about the HPV vaccine via a pamphlet. In the documentary, it was said that many people have the impression that the vaccine is against cervical cancer. However, as I stated before, it is only a vaccination against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV16 and HVP18) which can cause cancer. Some doctors and mothers from all over the world would like more people to know what this vaccine actually does and doesn’t do.

My opinion on this issue is that the pamphlet should be more detailed and should include more about the possible serious side effects. It can also have a positive influence on the trust people have in the pharmaceutical industry and doctors. Even though there is no direct proof about the more serious side effects of the HPV vaccine, I think it is important to mention that it is possible. If people are fully informed, they can make a better decision about wheter they want to be vaccinated or not.








Author: Daphne Mathijsen

quitting smoking: harder than ever

smoking-2Almost everyone knows someone that smokes. A friend, a colleague, a brother, a sister, a parent. “Stoptober” is a campaign which urges smokers to quit smoking for a month and hopefully longer. The goal of this campaign is to get as many smokers as possible to stop smoking. “Stoptober” started 11 days ago, but now it is even harder to stop smoking. It turns out that the tobacco industry adds more than is written on the package. It is not like the industry forgot to put them on the package, they did it on purpose to make as many people addicted to cigarettes as possible. This social problem involves many people. The smokers, the tobacco industry, the doctors (which treat the people who got a disease due to smoking), the people around the smokers and teenagers.

Everyone knows cigarettes are bad for your health, but it turns out that the tobacco industry adds many addictive substances, which make sure that people get addicted very easily (especially teenagers by adding things such as sugar, chocolate, etc. to make it taste sweeter). Sugar, for example, may sound not dangerous, but when it gets burned it releases toxic gasses which damage the health. This is just an example of the many substances that the tobacco industry adds to the cigarettes.

A woman named Anne Marie van Veen (43) has been smoking since she was 19. In 2014 she was diagnosed with lung cancer and stopped smoking since then. She watched a documentary named “Vervangers” (Replacers), which is about how the tobacco industry tries to lure children to start smoking cigarettes and get them addicted. After watching that documentary she realized that she couldn’t help to be addicted to cigarettes, because of the additives in the tobacco. Now Anne Marie is trying to warn people about the situation and tries to sue the tobacco industry. She started a website named  http://sickofsmoking.nl/, trying to warn about the dangers of smoking and to find support to sue the tobacco industry. She wants to prevent that children and adults start to smoke, because it causes many illnesses and damages the health of people.

I think it is very important that the tobacco industry has to be honest about all the additives and will stop adding extra ingredients to make people addicted. This affects teenagers especially, because they get influenced really easily, for example by peer-pressure.

It is logical that every industry wants to make profit and get as many customers as possible. They do so by making people addicted to smoking by adding additives and not mentioning them on the package. In my opinion, this is not a fair way to get customers. The industry causes health problems which will cost loads of money in the future to treat these illnesses. I agree with Anne Marie that the tobacco industry shouldn’t get away with such huge negative impacts on people’s lives.




author: Daphne Mathijsen – Freaders