Chapter 3 The Diffusion of the Chasing Ritual in the Netherlands
Heroin was introduced in the Netherlands around 1972. Along with this new drug appeared an in this country unknown method of drug administration --'chasing the dragon', which users termed 'chinesing'. In contrast with the current situation in many other European countries and the U.S.A., only a minority of heroin users in the Netherlands inject. Most Dutch heroin users smoke their heroin and/or cocaine. Chinesing or chasing is certainly the most prevalent mode of smoking heroin and may still be for cocaine. However, as described in the previous chapter, the practice of cocaine basing is becoming increasingly prevalent in this population. This chapter aims to reconstruct the process and factors that have lead to this specific Dutch situation -the gradual diffusion of chasing.
3.1 A Theoretical Diffusion Model of the Spread of Chasing in the Netherlands
The spread of the chasing ritual can be explained by the concept of 'diffusion'. Katz et al. defined diffusion as "the acceptance, overtime, of some specific item --an idea or practice-- by individuals, groups, or other adopting units, linked to specific channels of communication, to a Social structure, and to a given system of values, or culture."' The concept was used by O'Donnell and Jones to explain the spread of the intravenous technique among American narcotic addicts between 1925 and 1940. 2 They distinguished a number of factors, including economic and cultural ones, accounting for the rapid dissemination of injecting. The economic factor dictated a move to a more efficient administration mode under the condition of rising prices and decreasing supply and purity of black market heroin. This shift to injecting was reinforced by the cultural factor of a deviant subculture around the non-medical use of opiates, that developed a distinctive set of values, language and norms around drug use. 3 In a 1986 paper Kaplan et al. used the concept of diffusion for the first time to analyze the emergence of the chasing ritual in the Netherlands.4 This chapter elaborates this analysis and explores the issue more in-depth.
In the diffusion of chasing in the Netherlands two process phases can be distinguished. These are:
Primary diffusion refers to the introduction and spread of chasing within the Surinamese community. After introduction through initial contacts with Chinese dealer/users, heroin chasing rapidly spread and consolidated as the dominant heroin self-administration ritual in the networks and peer groups of young Surinamese immigrants --which were to a large degree isolated from other (sub)cultural youth networks and Dutch society in general. Secondary diffusion represents the phase in which heroin chasing spread to other ethnic groups in the Netherlands through an epidemic process termed 'microdiffusion'. According to Parker et al. in the process of microdiffusion "heroin and the associated cultural knowledge are spread between young people of different social groups by means of communication and exchange between individuals from different networks who live in close proximity to one another. The sharing of pubs, clubs, cafes and street corners within a densely populated urban area is likely to be a major component of this process ..."5 Thereupon the spread of heroin chasing continued along the lines of friendship and peer group networks of the new users.' The geographical diffusion from the big cities in the west of the Netherlands (mainly Amsterdam and Rotterdam) to other Dutch cities and towns is also part of the secondary diffusion. This 'macrodiffusion' supposes that "heroin epidemics emerge in the most densely populated cities and towns, and gradually spread to less heavily populated areas."' In both phases distinctive factors can be discerned, influencing the diffusion process. These have been clustered into sociocultural factors, general socio-economic factors, drug market factors and socioecological factors. It is hypothesized that these factors have led to the gradual spread and firm establishment of the chasing ritual in all ethnic groups involved in heroin use and, consequently, the decline of the injecting ritual. Over time the prevalence and incidence of smoking and injecting has gradually changed in favor of the chasing mode. Figure 3.1 presents a model of the diffusion of heroin chasing in the Netherlands. The model shows the clustered factors and indicates where in the model these factors apply. Table 3.1 summarizes the clusters. Although the model is designed to facilitate the specific explanation of the diffusion of the chasing ritual in the Netherlands, it also exhibits a main general diffusion route of heroin use itself.
A note of caution. This model is a two-dimensional depiction of a multidimensional process. This inevitably leads to loss of information. First of all, the information available for this analysis may not be exhaustive --unknown factors and relations are not included. Secondly, the model's flow chart properties suggest a chronology. This is only correct to a limited extent. Certain events in the diffusion process (e.g. the initial contacts between the Chinese and the Surinamese) can be positioned rather exactly in time. However, the majority of events (e.g. the process stages in different cities, the contacts between the various ethnic groups, or the geographical diffusion) cannot, as these may have largely occurred independently and at different times in different places. Thus figure 3.1 is only meant to facilitate and structure thinking about this complex process and help to unravel some of the highly intertwined and interdependent factors involved in the development of the present unique Dutch situation.
Table 3.1 Clustered factors of the diffusion model
PRIMARY DIFFUSIONDrug market factors I - Seizure of Vietnam G.I. market
- Initial availability of high purity heroin
- Targeted marketing of Surinamese street corner culture by Chinese dealers
- Surinamese occupying lower and middle positions in drug trafficking
- Ready market in youth counter culture Socio cultural factors I - Massive immigration of single male adolescents from lower socio-economic strata
- Culturak and linguistic commonalities between Chinese and Surinamese
- Acculturation problems
- Culture specific coping strategies
* Street corner tradition
*Tradition of "hosselen" (hustling)
- Limited experience with drugs in general
- Ignorance of heroin's addictive quality
- Marihuana use
Socio-Ecological Factors I - Distinct locations of reproduced street corner culture
- Geographical overlap of Chinese and Surinamese communities in Amsterdam
General Socio-Economic Factors I - Upcoming economic recession
- Rising unemployment
- Subadequate education and work skills Socio-Cultural Factors II - Needle taboo
- Control motive, fear of addiction
- Cool self-image
- Social control
- Symbolic functions of ritual
- Limited superficial contacts with IDUs
- "Surinamese" drug treatment
Drug Market Factors II - Stable availability of relatively high purity heroin designed for smoking
- Continued Surinamese involvement in drug distribution
SECONDARY DIFFUSIONSocio-Ecological Factors II - Shift to house addresses
- Protected environment General Socio-Economic Factors II - Persistent economic recession
- High youth unemployment rates
- Subadequate education and work skills
Socio-Cultural Factors III - Limited experience with drugs in general
- Overlapping sub-cultural circuits
- Social learning
- Social rule making
- "Ethnic" drug treatment
- Decreasing prices Drug Market Factors III - Normalization policy
* changed law enforcement priorities
* low threshold methadone maintenance
- Contunued stable availability of smoking heroin
3.2 Primary Diffusion of the Chasing Ritual
3.2.1 The Introduction of Heroin in the Netherlands
The diffusion of chasing began almost simultaneously with the introduction of heroin use in the Netherlands. The drug market factors that are generally associated with the introduction of heroin in the Netherlands can be distinguished at different levels. On the supply side, the introduction was strongly stimulated by a macro-economical upheaval in the international heroin market --the end of the Vietnam war and the successive withdrawal of the American military forces from that region. The end of this war resulted in the seizure of an important and large outlet for the heroin traffickers of the 'Golden Triangle'. During the Vietnam war a substantial proportion of the American G.l.'s were using (smoking) heroin, which was cheap and of high quality.' To compensate the loss of this profitable market, the international traffickers turned to Europe, in search of new markets.3 9 Perhaps this move was further stimulated by the famous break up of the 'French connection', which exported Turkish heroin after final processing to the U.S.A.. The interdiction of this at that time major smuggling route may well have resulted in surplus heroin stocks at the South European transhipment points, inducing a siphoning into the new market. A sizable share of the international heroin trade was traditionally in Chinese hands and there existed firm relations with the rather large Chinese community in the Netherlands. This community has been involved in the trafficking and use of opium since the early twentieth century." 11 The heroin that became available in the Netherlands (and elsewhere in Europe) in the early 1970s came almost exclusively from the Golden Triangle (the area of Burma, Thailand and Laos) and the Chinese community in the Netherlands was strongly associated with it's introduction." 12
On the demand side, the heroin traffickers found a ready market in the drug driven youth counter culture of that period. Drug use played an important symbolic function in that group." The popular drugs of the subculture were cannabis and LSD and, to a lesser degree, amphetamines and opium. The latter drugs were also injected. As the drug has not been scheduled until 1976, amphetamines could sometimes be obtained from medical sources. But the drug was also illegally produced for the black market. Prior to the 1960s opium smoking was limited to the Chinese immigrant communities, in which it enjoyed great popularity. The numerous opium dens in the Chinatowns of Rotterdam and Amsterdam served an estimated 75% of the community.10 Because the dens did not cause nuisance and were only visited by Chinese, they were more or less tolerated by the police. At the end of the 1960s an increasing number of Dutch started buying opium at the dens. Initially the Chinese were rather reluctant to sell to the Dutch. This resulted in a growing group of Dutch users loitering the streets around the opium dens waiting for a dealer. This attracted police attention and, partly because use was no longer contained to the Chinese community, the opium trade became a target for intervention. Dens were closed and dealers (and also many elderly opium smokers) arrested. In the early 1970s the police succeeded in deregulating opium availability. In that same period heroin became available.
Regular users of amphetamines and/or opium were among the first consumers of the newly marketed and cheap heroin. Many opium users were indisposed by the fact that
their opium sources were drying up, while heavy amphetamine users were looking for pharmaceutical ways to bring their speedy lives back in control. Both groups switched to heroin- These primarily white Dutch users were oriented to the American counter culture. They saw their injecting drug use as a symbol of a new deviant lifestyle.' At the time of the independence of Suriname in 1975, large numbers of young and frequently single Surinamese males came to the Netherlands. They became a second group of customers of the Chinese heroin dealers. From the early 1970s onwards, the middle and low levels of the heroin distribution were primarily controlled by Surinamese. 4 Many Surinamese users were involved in dealing themselves or closer to the trafficking sources than Dutch users. 13 Often heroin was (considerably) cheaper for Surinamese users and frequently they were charged a 'friend's price' or earned some heroin in exchange for small services 12 Thus, the Surinamese were in a steady position in which heroin, when needed, was sufficiently available.
The macro-economic or international aspect of the supply side in the emerging Dutch heroin market is illustrated by the initial use of American or avoirdupois pounds and ounces in heroin transactions. Even at the levels where the Surinamese were involved, the avoirdupois system was used. Heroin was sold in ounces and its halvings (1, 112, 1/4 and 1/8 of an ounce, corresponding with 28, 14, 7 and 3.5 grams). The term used for an ounce was 'onsje' (a little ons). In their typology of heroin users, Janssen and Swierstra even distinguished the Surinamese 'seven grams dealer' 12, who bought her/is stock in units of seven grams or a quarter ounce for ± f 1000- Nowadays the consumption -level dealer buys her/is stock in grams. For example, one of the in the field study contacted dealers generally bought wholesale in quantities of 'tien plus tien' (ten plus ten-, ten grams of heroin and ten grams of cocaine).
Table 3.2 Origin of heroin in large seizuresSource 1970-1979 1980-1989 1990
SE Asia > 90% < 5% 24%
SW Asia < 10% > 95% 68%
source: Huizer H, 1987, 1992
3.2.2 The Composition of 'Dutch' Heroin
In order to make heroin smoking cost-effective, the purity and quality of the drug may not be too low at going market prices. Tables 3.2 and 3.3 present data on the black market heroin in the Netherlands in the period 1970-1990, based on seizures analyzed at the Section for Illicit Drugs of the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Ministry of Justice in Rijswijk, the Netherlands. Before 1980 most heroin on the Dutch black market was type no.3, which was produced in the Golden Triangle in South East Asia (SEA), while hereafter the market became dominated by South West Asian (SWA) heroin base. (table 3.2)
Table 3.3 Characteristics of Black Market heroin in the Netherlands*Year/Period Mean Purity# Main source Main diluents
1970-1979 30-50% SE Asia Caffeine
1980 1st 1/2 year 65% SW Asia procaine-HCl, caffeine, (amino)phenazone
1980 2nd 1/2 year 54% SW Asia procaine-HCl, caffeine, phenazone, phenacetine
1981 1st 1/2 year 47% SW Asia procaine-HCl, phenazone, phenacetine
1981 2nd 1/2 year 60% SW Asia procaine-HCl
1982 61% SW Asia procaine-HCl
1983 55% SW Asia procaine-HCl, Caffeine
1984 60% SW Asia Caffeine, procaine-HCl, piracetam
1985 44% SW Asia Caffeine, procaine-HCl, phenobarb, methaqual, phenacetine
1986 43% SW Asia Phenobarbital, methaqualone, caffeine
1987 44% SW Asia Caffeine, phenobarbital, methaqual, nicotinamide, N-phenyl-2-natalamine
1988 40% SW Asia Caffeine, phenobarbital, methaqualone
1989 49% SW Asia Caffeine, phenobarbital, paracetamol
1990 import level samples 40%
80% SW Asia
Unclass. paracetamol, caffeine, phenobarbital
1990 street samples 33% SW Asia paracetamol, caffeine
# Minimum lot size for quantitive analysis: 1o grams before and 100 grams after 1987
* Source Huizer H, 1987, 1992
Table 3.3 gives an overview of average purity, the main region of production and frequently encountered diluents per year. Before 1980 the heroin contents of the analyzed samples were between 30 and 50% heroin hydrochloride. Between 1980 and 1984 the mean purity of the SWA heroin base increased to levels above and around 60%. In 1985 purity decreased markedly to 40-45%. 14 This downfall has been related to a simpler production method by less skilled chemists. Morphine isolation from the raw opium was conducted less carefully, resulting in a higher percentage production impurities, in particular noscapine, a non-narcotic opium compound prescribed as a cough suppressant. 15
Table 3.4 Recovery of Heroin Hydochloride in laborory simulations of chasing calculated as the percentage of heroin present in the original sample.Sample Heroin recovery
heroin Hydrochloride (H-HCl) 17%
H-HCl + Caffeine (1+1) 36%
H-HCl + Caffeine (1+4) 51%
H-HCl + Barbital (1+1) 33%
H-HCl + Procaine-HCl (1+1) 12%
Source: Huizer H, 1987
Although after 1980 high purity SEA no.4 type heroin was seized at the import level, it rarely reached the Dutch consumers, but was generally further exported to other European countries." These seizures are, however, included in the presented mean purities. Therefore, the actual purity of the heroin available for the Dutch market may be somewhat lower, depending on the proportion SEA and SWA heroin by year. Nevertheless, apart from the rise in 1979 due to the change in type of heroin (from SEA to SWA) and the 1985 decrease, overall the purity of heroin in the Netherlands has been relatively high and stable during the last two decades, compared to both American and European standards.* 15
Furthermore, a number of laboratory investigations in the period 1973-1989 showed no significant difference in heroin purity between seizures of large quantities and those seized at street level. The drug is generally cut at the production level or, to a lesser degree, at the import level.15 In 1990 40% of the import level samples of SWA origin were uncut with a mean purity of 52%. The diluted import level samples contained 33% heroin on average, matching the mean purity of street samples (9% of street samples were uncut with a mean purity of 52% and 91% were cut to a mean 31% heroin content). At both levels, the encountered diluents were highly similar (table 3.3). Adulteration at street level does not seem to be a widespread practice.15
Table 3.5 Recovery of Heroin base in laboratory simulations of chasing calculated as the percentage of heroin present in the original sampleSample Heroin recovery
Heroin Base 62%
Heroin Base + Caffeine (1+1) 76%
Illegal SWA Heroin Base 36%
Heroin Base + Noscapine (9+1) 40%
Heroin Base + Ascorbic acid 1%
Heroin Base + Methaqualone 55%
Heroin Base + Nicotinamide 41%
Heroin Base + Piracetam 30%
Heroin Base + Phenazone 44%
Heroin Base + Paracetamol 10%
Heroin Base + Colophonium 17%
Heroin Base + Glucose 13%
Heroin Base + Lactose 23%
Heroin Base + Mannitol 25%
Heroin Base + Cocaine base (cocktail) 38%
An important consideration is that the opinion of heroin smokers may conflict with the laboratory assessment of actual heroin content. In a laboratory measurement heroin content can be reliably established. However, the 'bioavailability' (and thus the perceived effects) for smokers is dependent on a number of other factors, such as heroin form, processing impurities or diluents." Heroin is either marketed in the salt (usually the hydrochloride) form or as the base. The salt dissolves easily in water and can thus be injected without other additions, while the base does not. But when pure heroin hydrochloride is heated on aluminum foil the major part does not volatilize, but degrades, mostly by charring. When smoked, only a small part of this heroin is actually absorbed by the body. There are indications that only 15-20% of the heroin hydrochloride becomes available when careful smoking is performed. Rough heating (poor chasing technique) may result in even more charring. 17 (table 3.4)
It is, however, not impossible to smoke the salt form. The percentage of heroin hydrochloride that volatilizes, and is thus ingested, is strongly dependent on the admixed compounds. A large increase in volatilization is observed when caffeine is added. Caffeine was traditionally mixed in on a ± 1 + 1 basis in the South East Asian no.3 heroin. (table 3.4) The recipe, which is known from the beginning of this century, was designed for smoking.` 18 19 20 Until 1980 most illicit heroin in the Netherlands came from SEA and usually in the hydrochloride form. (table 3.3) For smoking purposes this hydrochloride form was not optimal, but the choice for caffeine as an admixture was a logical one. 90% of samples encountered on the Dutch heroin market before 1980 were of this composition.
From 1980 on SWA heroin dominated the Dutch illicit market. This product has seldom been found as the hydrochloride salt; the base form prevailed.16 For that reason, IDUs add an acidifier to make an injectable solution. In contrast with the salt, heroin base is quite effective on smoking. it volatilizes much better -under laboratory conditions ±60% of the heroin base is recovered, which is about three to four times as much as for the salt form. 16 However, illegally processed South West Asian heroin base also contains many diluents and processing impurities. (table 3.5) These compounds influence the volatilization of heroin to a great extent. The most important admixture in the beginning of the 1980s, procaine hydrochloride, causes a strong degradation, reducing bio-availability to about 12%. A 1 + 1 mixture of heroin base with ascorbic acid results in a nearly complete degradation of heroin in the smoking process. Ascorbic acid is infrequently found in heroin samples seized abroad, but with a few exceptions not in the Netherlands. Likewise, the high noscapine levels in the product since 1985 may have also reduced heroin's bioavailability for smokers. 16 The diluent paracetamol, important in 1989, 1990 and 1991 has a strong negative influence on the bio-availability when heroin is smoked. in the smoking process heroin reacts with the paracetamol, forming a less active compound. A partly compensation is obtained by the caffeine which is often found in combination with paracetamol. 15 22 At the other hand, caffeine and other admixed compounds, such as barbital and methaqualone facilitate volatilization, whereas some diluents have little effect and seem just added to enlarge the volume. The compounds most frequently encountered in seized heroin generally enhance volatilization. (table 3.5)
Finally, the temperature and heating technique are of considerable influence. Experience with the chasing technique is important, as adding too much heat results in charring and degradation into weaker or inactive compounds." These effects indicate a complex relation between the heroin content and the effects as experienced by the smoker, whereas IDUs' experiences may show a more or less linear relation regarding the strength of the heroin." However, their experience of the drug effects may also be influenced by the admixed compounds, e.g. procaine is rumored to increase the rush or impact effect.
At this point it can be concluded that, in the beginning of the 1970s, as a result of international and local market factors, an illicit market in relatively high purity smokable heroin could flourish in the Netherlands. During the last two decades the purity of the marketed product has been rather constant. Although the composition has been subject to changes, overall, the smokability of the heroin on the Dutch illegal market has remained sufficient. The general picture arising indicates that this situation has provided the necessary market condition for the primary diffusion of the heroin chasing ritual.
3.2.3 The Influx of Surinamese Immigrants in a Time of Rising Unemployment
During the late 1960 and the 1970s a large number of citizens of Suriname, until 1975 a Dutch colony, left their homeland to pursue an uncertain, but economically more promising future in the Netherlands. In contrast with Surinamese from higher socioeconomic strata, who, before this large influx, temporarily came to the Netherlands to study for an academic degree, most of the new immigrants came from lower socioeconomic ranks .23 The exodus of people was a disturbing phenomenon for the Surinamese community. Many (extended) families were broken up. Not only were they divided between the Netherlands and Suriname, but often they were also scattered over different cities in the Netherlands. Many of the young immigrants arrived without any preparations or conceptualizations. As the independence was approaching, in some cases, plans to leave were made just days before the scheduled flight. Many young people were sent alone by their parents with a suitcase (with tropical clothing), some money and the address of a relative somewhere in that strange and cold country. They came to the Netherlands during an upcoming economic recession with rising unemployment, were mostly poorly educated and unskilled and not at all prepared for living under Dutch conditions (different socio-economic organization, language, climate, etc.). Only a few found jobs quickly, a large proportion was unemployed. Many men lived on welfare in rooming houses or in groups of men in similar positions. In contrast with their expectations before making the crossing, in the Netherlands they wound up in a socially marginalized position. 12 Such a situation, in which large groups of young men of equal status were cut loose from their roots and transplanted in a cold, hostile and bureaucratic environment with completely different social codes and minimal job opportunities, could not but lead to problems. Not only were the new immigrants confronted with a broad spectrum of adaptation and acculturation problems. Dutch society at large experienced an immense 'absorption' problem. The upcoming economic crisis was a significant factor, but the limited experience of the Dutch society with ethnic/cultural minorities may not be underestimated. Although the Netherlands had extensive colonial experience, prior to the 1960s few colonial citizens immigrated.
3.2.4 The Introduction of Heroin Use among the Surinamese Immigrants
This massive immigration during the upcoming economic crisis merged with the relatively new and expanding occurrence of (hard) drug use. This rare combination of socio-cultural, socio-economic and drug market factors resulted in a cumulation of problems, leading to the involvement of a significant minority of the young Surinamese immigrants in heroin use and dealing. Fabri, a Surinamese Community leader and street outreach worker in Rotterdam during the first half of the 1970s, witnessed the sudden boom in heroin use among the recently arrived wave of young Surinamese immigrants and described it as follows.
"it was ... November 1974. ... The immediate problems of the Suriname[se immigrants] had become so large ... Daily, 50 to 60 [newly arrived) people were in need of help. .. That was far from everything. On the West-Kruiskade, fin] the meeting centre for Surinamese youth came heroin.... It was something completely new to us. Weed and hash were known for a long time and gave few problems, but with heroin, you really saw people slide down. We did not know how to cope with it," In September, heroin was already announced as Public enemy number 1. Then there were 400 to 500 users on the Kruiskade. A massive campaign was set up, but without result. In a rapid tempo the Kruiskade became the heroin centre of Rotterdam. Now, heroin is offered on the street over there. The Surinamese youth are in the hands of the white monster. We cried it out all the time. Continuously we pointed our fingers at the white monster. ,24
In a rapid tempo the use and trafficking of heroin became the pivotal point of the, mainly in Amsterdam and Rotterdam emerging Surinamese street corner culture. These overt and distinctly localized areas were essential points in the networks of the young immigrants --highly isolated from the rest of Dutch society-- and became a supportive environment for the spread of heroin use by means of peer group contagion mechanisms. Many of the newly arrived immigrants were introduced to heroin in this environment, some even on the night of their arrival in Holland. Many of the novice users, initially thought they were smoking some "strong kind of weed" * 25 and hardly knew of the habitforming properties of heroin. A limited number of the immigrants had some experience with cannabis in Suriname. Only very few had experience with other drugs. 12 Although marihuana was highly criminalized in Suriname, the use of this drug was generally not perceived as problematic, both in Suriname and in the Surinamese community in the Netherlands.
3.2.5 The Connection Between Supply and Demand
The Chinese heroin dealers initially sold the heroin themselves at the consumers level (anecdotal accounts claim, that in this 'marketing phase' of the new product the Chinese often gave heroin away for free or that one could buy a dinner spoon full for f 25.- to f 50.-). But when the Dutch police seriously started paying attention to the heroin trade, the middle and low level positions in the hierarchy became vacant. That these positions were soon filled by young Surinamese males is evident. Less evident is how this process actually fell into place. Kaplan et al. suggest that the Surinamese "began as customers of the Chinese and later became small and middle distributors. 4 Janssen and Swierstra corroborate this suggestion and they furthermore point at the fact that before the massive immigration to the Netherlands earlier generations of Surinamese immigrants were active in drug use and distribution, as was documented by Cohen .26 Nevertheless, the Dutch users were also customers of the Chinese and some of them also had experience in dealing a broad scala of drugs. Why did they not fill the vacant positions? This may partly be explained by their more uncontrolled (injecting) drug use and junkie lifestyle (they were probably on the average using drugs longer), displayed in their clothing and deteriorated physical appearance. Because of this, the Chinese may have perceived them as unreliable business partners.
However, another more plausible explanation may be found in the ethnic, cultural and linguistic commonalities of the Chinese with the Surinamese. Although often treated as such (e.g. in research, statistics and services), the Surinamese are a heterogeneous population group. The population of Suriname consists of numerous ethnic subgroups and mixtures. There are Latin American Indians, the original inhabitants of the country, African Blacks, imported as slaves from Africa during the early days of the Dutch colonialization, and other ethnic groups who, in search of work, migrated to the country during the Dutch reign. For example, the Hindustani from India and Pakistan. the Javanese from Indonesia, and the Chinese, who, for a large part, also came from this former Dutch colony. All these groups are represented in the Surinamese community in the Netherlands. The common ethnic, cultural and linguistic background of the Asian Chinese and the Surinamese Chinese may well have been of great importance in the Surinamese filling up the middle and lower dealing positions. Although from different regions in the world, the similarities in appearance and ethnic characteristics, the common cultural heritage, shared or overlapping language and (remote) family ties presumably reinforced interaction and trust between the two groups. Such links would be consistent with the 'drug market as an informal job market' model .27 28 29 Korf and de Kort suggested a similar linguistic link between Pakistani heroin wholesalers and Surinamese Hindustani middle level distributors based on the common knowledge of the Urdu language."
Although socio-cultural factors have played a critical role, such contacts may furthermore have been stimulated by specific socio-ecological and socio-economic factors. For example, the geographical overlap of the Chinese and Surinamese community in Amsterdam. Around 1970 the Surinamese entertainment center was located up and around the 'Zeedijk' and the 'Nieuwmarkt' --places where the Chinese opium traffickers, and from 1971 on the Chinese heroin traffickers, also loitered. 23 In addition, earlier immigrated Surinamese supposedly played an important role in the trafficking of reefer during the 1950s and 1960s.10 Furthermore, the overt street corner culture of the Surinamese may have been an easily discernable and obvious target for Chinese marketing efforts. Because of increased police interventions, the Chinese traffickers were retreating from consumption level dealing. The Surinamese street corner culture must have been of considerable (economic) interest to them as, from an economic viewpoint, it was a ready for use distribution network.
3.2.6 The Introduction of Heroin Smoking: From Chasing the Dragon to Chinesing
Alongside the introduction of heroin use, up to that point unknown heroin smoking rituals surfaced in the Netherlands. As pointed out, the Surinamese did not have prior experience with heroin and were, thus, not familiar with the various administration rituals of the drug. It is highly plausible that the first Surinamese heroin users were taught to smoke and inhale the drug by their Chinese contacts. In contrast with the Western world, the most prevalent modes of heroin administration in the East are inhaling, known as 'chasing the dragon', referring to the curling fumes that come from the drug when heated on aluminum foil and smoking in a cigarette, known as 'firing the ackack gun .4 30 3 31 The Chinese dealer/users brought these modes of administration to the Netherlands and introduced them to their Surinamese customers and business partners. The argot term 'chinezen' (chinesing) and related terms as 'chinezer' (s/he that chineses) and 'een chineesje' (a little chinese: a little dose of heroin, also cocaine or a mixture) is compelling semantical evidence of the diffusion, transformation and adaptation of the originally Eastern ritual to the Dutch situation through Chinese user/dealers.
The available data suggests that smoking somewhat proceeded chasing. 12 24 Anecdotal accounts point at sniffing as the administration route before smoking became fashionable. 32 When smoked, the drug was mixed with tobacco or marihuana, which use was more common. Therefore, van Gelder points at marihuana smoking as one determinant of heroin use. 23 A smoking mode typical for these Surinamese users was in filter cigarettes, called a 'sigaretje' (a little cigarette). Fabri observed this ritual sequence in Rotterdam:
"After a few minutes he takes a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes from his breast pocket. In the pack sits a folded f 10.- bill. He takes out the bill and half opens it. His friends see a knife; a slender, sharp and flat knife, with which he carefully strokes the bill. In the 'tientie' (f 10.- bill jpcg) are brownish white grains which he rubs to powder with his knife. ... The boy takes a cigarette from the pack and over the ashtray he removes some of the tobacco. Then he puts the half empty cigarette in his mouth and keeps it closely above the white powder. Slowly he draws the 'pak-fang' (heroin, jpcg) into the cigarette, until all of the powder has disappeared. He always smokes down to the filter and the more pak-fang, the blacker the cigarette.""
The use of the term 'pak-fang' (a Chinese term for heroin) provides further linguistic support for the Chinese origin of heroin smoking. Smoking heroin in cigarettes soon became rare --it was too inefficient and thus too expensive-- and more and more Surinamese users switched to chasing. Thus, after introduction by the Chinese dealer/users, chasing the dragon, renamed chinesing, diffused in the Surinamese community simultaneously with heroin use.
3.2.7 Culture Specific Coping Strategies
The diffusion of heroin chasing among the Surinamese can further be explained as a result of culture specific coping strategies. The economic crisis with rising unemployment and the acculturation problems of the new immigrants have already been mentioned. To cope with the situation of forced unemployment, boredom and financial and emotional destitution, the young immigrants congregated at certain places in the cities. In Suriname an important part of social life takes place outside the house, on the yard and street corners. The Surinamese reproduced the 'street corner culture' they knew from life in their homeland without the constraints of the social controls of parents and other adults found in Suriname. 12 For many young immigrants this street corner culture was the social space in which they made their entry into Dutch society. This combination of acculturation problems, loss of family control and reproduced street corner culture was constitutive for the use of heroin among the Surinamese. 12 The street corner did not only offer protection against the chaotic impressions of and experiences with the new world, it also inhibited participation in the world in which the newcomer had to live. 12 Janssen and Swierstra also point at the fact that the upsurge in heroin availability and use occurred somewhat simultaneously with the massive influx of the Surinamese. The involvement in heroin dealing often
proceeded the use of the drug. 12
This involvement in heroin dealing is compatible with another aspect of the street corner culture, imported from Suriname --'Hosselen' (hustling). Where Jansen and Swierstra tend to stress the acculturation aspects of the street corner culture, van Gelder emphasizes hosselen. 23 Hosselen is generally referred to as a specific form of organizing to acquire an income, service, reward, or goods. The activity of hosselen is characterized by (1) Opportunity: One hustles as a second choice and a variety of odd jobs or activities can be involved, depending on their opportunity to raise money on short term; (2) Necessity: One hustles because one has to, to supplement a low wages job or when unemployed; and (3) Informality: One hustles alone (without an employer/employee relationship) or with others that can be trusted such as friends or relatives. This implies that hustling generally takes place in unregulated or noninstitutionalized settings. Therefore it can easily become associated with an illegal activity. Normally hustling is limited to small scale activities. van Gelder furthermore characterizes hosselen as an urban oriented and tertiary activity. It takes place, if not at home, at the street corner, the market or the city center and generally involves selling or small services, such as car repairs or transport. 33
Besides its economic activity, van Gelder distinguishes hosselen as an identity. Many Surinamese youngsters who loiter at street corners like to see themselves as 'hosselaar' or 'wakaman'. They hustle not merely from necessity, but also by choice. This specific lifestyle includes specified (ritualized) behaviors, rules, style of appearance and language 33 often referred to as a 'bricolage,. 34 Although hosselen in the larger Surinamese community in the Netherlands is viewed as a substandard activity, for these young men the role of wakaman is an attractive identity. 33 A comparison with the 'player', the black American hustler is not unreasonable, since in dress and styling the wakamen resemble this cool and stylish type of dealer/user to a great degree. Among the Surinamese drug users shoplifting, burglary and swindling outsiders are also seen as typical hustles. For example, in Sranan Tongo (a Surinamese language) swindling is often seen as play and is called 'koni .33 This word is a linguistic parallel with the American 'conning' or 'con(fidence) games'. Van Gelder argues that the
Surinamese 'hosselen' and the American 'hustling' are different concepts.36 However, 'koni' and other common words, such as 'game', 'fight' and, of course, 'hosselen' also suggest a (linguistic) connection with black American culture .35 Both Kaplan and Buiks suggest that the diffusion mechanism of black American (street) culture was presumably through mass media such as television and movies with black ghetto themes --the so-called 'blacxploitation' Bmovies, which were distributed en mass internationally. 4 37 Thus, although heroin was not available in the Caribbean Suriname, through this media diffusion mechanism the Surinamese became aware of heroin, and realized its potential economic value.
Typical hustling positions associated with drug trafficking are go-between or hawker, errand-boy and seller of bogus drugs." 23 Van Gelder emphasizes the difference between these positions and the actual dealing." However, this difference is relative. In the following excerpt of a fieldnote the different positions in dealing team at a house address are presented:
Gus finances his and his girlfriend's dope use by renting his living room, the attic or the house below to a dealer. He prefers to rent out the first floor because in case of a bust the police cannot hold him responsible. For the last four months Gus had rented the place to Rattle, a ±20 year old creole Surinamese man and his brother. Rattle and his brother are not using any hard drugs. Rattle only smokes hash. Visiting the place in December '87 the door was opened by John, the doorman. John is paid by Rattle to run down the stairs each time the doorbell rings. The door on the first floor was opened by Richard. After entering the room, Richard closed the door and put a wooden bar across it. Richard and also Hans were paid just for hanging around. Their main job is to prevent a rip off. Barend, who was in also, is paid to do shopping. All of these men are white. The actual dealing was done by Rattle, his brother and a Hindustan man who was smoking a lot of 'wit' en 'bruin' himself. Gus and Rattle's employees are paid partly in cash but mainly in dope.
Although the characteristics of the people may vary (most dealers were users themselves; some crews were of mixed ethnicity, while others employed only Surinamese or only Dutch people, most dealers in charge were Surinamese men, but dealers from other ethnic groups and women were also observed), this situation is rather typical for most dealing observed during the fieldwork. All the described positions are present, but the crews may often be smaller. What became very clear over time, is that many of these positions are not fixed. One day a person would give a dealer the opportunity to deal in her/is house and fill the position of doorman or not, the other day s/he would start selling drugs her/imself. One day somebody was behind the scale weighing the drugs for the customer and the next day s/he was shoplifting or working as a doorman for another dealer. Thus, while hosselen and dealing exist as separate positions, there is a protean quality in the way these positions are filled. The lower levels of the drugs market in particular offers many, if highly unstable entrepreneurial chances. People step in and often fall out again, e.g. when they exercise too little control over their personal drug use. Some are able to stay in position or climb up. This also makes sense when the illegal drugs market is viewed as an informal job market, which offers chances to individuals and groups that do not make it at the formal job market, in particular groups of ethnic minorities. 27 28 From this perspective, Buiks also explained the involvement of the Surinamese drug trafficking. 36
Thus, for many Surinamese immigrants heroin was not only a means to regulate and ameliorate the stressful aspects of their new and low status , but also was an opportunity to raise this status by supplementing their low, welfare based income. Furthermore dealing offered attractive role models and a route to higher socioeconomic positions.
3.2.8 The Consolidation of Chasing among the Surinamese Heroin Users
Why did the Surinamese users not proceed to injecting --the most efficient route of administration? Several factors, that distinguish the Surinamese users from their Dutch counterparts, have been put forward to explain the widespread adoption and maintenance of the chasing ritual among the Surinamese.
It has been suggested that the Surinamese users held a strong cultural taboo against penetrating the body with a foreign object --a needle taboo reinforcing non-injecting use. This taboo has been related to the 'Winti' belief 4 12 23 This religion or healing practiced by the Creole and multi-ethnic Surinamese and Creoles form a large portion of the Surinamese drug users. The precise relation between Winti and needle taboos is unclear. Both Surinamese users and drug service providers are rather reluctant to discuss the matter .23 Needle taboos may also exist among Moroccan users, but seem however typical for the Netherlands. The prevalence of injecting among Moroccan heroin users in Belgium and France is not different of that of native drug users. French speaking North African users contacted by doctors of the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service (GG&GD) usually inject, while the majority of those in the Amsterdam methadone programs - -which are only open to residents-chase .38 Likewise, in the U.S. minority drug users are not distinguishable from Caucasian users in regard to route of administration. The low prevalence of injecting among minority heroin users in the Netherlands may partly be culturally determined, but in itself such a taboo can hardly account for the widespread practice of chasing. Most likely such cultural inhibitions can only be maintained by the grace of the favorable drug market factors.
The Surinamese were also believed to have a definite fear of (or respect for) the addictive quality of heroin. Although they acknowledged their habit, it was often conceived as less intense than that of the Dutch IDUs. Smoking and chasing were perceived to be less addictive than injecting and as a way to exercise control over the level of consumption. 12 Their fear of the addictive quality of opiates was also displayed in their attitude towards methadone and burgodin --synthetic opiates used in withdrawal. While Dutch users emphasized the practical and financial advantages of methadone, the Surinamese accentuated the 'double addiction' character --addicted to heroin and methadone. This control motive may further be enhanced by the Winti belief." However, the assumption that smoking is less addictive than injecting is not empirically grounded, although the more gradual and moderate administration patterns somewhat level both the high and the low peaks associated with injecting. From a behavioral pharmacology viewpoint the reinforcement potential of chasing may thus be lower.
In the 1970s Winti and other cultural specifics were used to legitimate separate drug treatment circuits for Surinamese heroin users." in these programs chasing was often tolerated. In the Rotterdam program Opo Hoso this even lead to staff anxiety about the addiction potential of the heavy heroin smell in the building. These programs were thus important locales in the chasing subculture.
Janssen and Swierstra hypothesized whether the length of the drug use careers was of influence. In the early 1980s, the average career of Surinamese users, was significantly shorter than those of Dutch users. The Surinamese users could be expected to initiate injecting at a later stage in their career." Current information indicates that these group differences in injecting prevalence cannot be explained in terms of career, as drug use careers of both groups are similar in length .39 Thus, the explanation of injecting drug use in terms of an inescapable addictive process of ever increasing doses and subsequent more efficient administration routes is incorrect.
Most white Dutch heroin users in the first half of the 1970s had not only longer use careers but also experience with several other drugs. Their socialization into daily illegal drug use took place in a turbulent period, characterized by little common knowledge and experience of the new drugs and a stronger repression of all illegal drug use. This affected the stability of supplies, drug use patterns, social and self definition. As already pointed out, the white Dutch were culturally oriented on the (American) counter culture that started in the late 1960s. In fact, a substantial proportion originated from the hippie movement, which was partly characterized by a strong experimental attitude, that made injecting drug use not only more acceptable or even attractive, but also lacked the cultural restrains felt by the Surinamese users. Furthermore, many had already injected other drugs before initial heroin use. Put plainly, their looking for kicks had gotten out of control.
The Surinamese users were not tied into this subculture. The Dutch IDUs set a negative and deterring example. They were looked upon as "pitiful junkies without self respect and fallen prey to self-neglect", 12 a state reinforced by injecting, which was characterized as dirty and vile. But a large part of their, to Surinamese users appalling, physical appearance, hair and clothing style may merely have displayed the hippie attitude regarding fashion, physical appearance, etc., though often amplified or escalated by a demanding dr 4 ug using lifestyle. In contrast, most Surinamese users did not have such subcultural experiences and values when they started their heroin careers, they were attracted to many (in particular material) aspects and values of Dutch society, which, in Surinam, were only known from television and movies. In addition, the popular self image of many Surinamese users was that of a cool user, a wakaman, who was in control of his situation. 23 Physical health and appearance, respect and presentation was an important element in their self-definition.
The Surinamese users furthermore exerted intense social control among each other to maintain non-injecting heroin use --those injecting were often ostracized. 12 This mutual social control against injecting has been a key cultural factor in explaining the initial diffusion of the chasing ritual. This social control must, however, be put in the broader context of the social meaning of the chasing ritual for this group. On their arrival in the Netherlands, the Surinamese were placed in the position of immigrant without any structural or institutionalized ties to the new white world. Unemployment, boredom, alienation, feelings of discrimination and initial negative experiences lead to a shared mistrust for this cold and unknown world with, in their eyes, unfamiliar and incomprehensible anonymous social and bureaucratic regulatory systems. One could never be certain of the results of encounters with these systems. These collective acculturation problems were an important incentive for the reproduction or reconstruction of the familiar street corner culture, which provided a sense of belonging. 12 The shared use of drugs not only acted as a subcultural social control, it reduced anxiety and uncertainty, provided these young men with necessary positive self-images, status, and feelings of warmth, sociability and mutual solidarity --feelings they were unable to get in the stress provoking new white world. Their shared drug use ritual acted as a strong binding force and was a symbolic expression of their common position in a strange and hostile world. It provided clarity in a confusing world and was therefore of great value.
The contacts of the Surinamese users with white Dutch IDUs were generally limited to superficial encounters in the context of dealing. Such limited contact without a shared background ideology and symbols were by no way sufficient for the diffusion of injecting into the population of Surinamese heroin users. As Kaplan et al. argued, "ere contact is not enough to account for the diffusion of drug patterns. Economic and cultural conditions must exist to receive the new innovation. " 4 As explained above, the stable availability of high purity smoking heroin throughout the years and the continued involvement of the Surinamese in the distribution of these drugs prevented an economic need to initiate injecting drug use. Thus, not only the cultural conditions inhibited a move to injecting, the economic conditions remained supportive of the chasing culture. The 'white junkie injecting ritual' was no competition for the strong and meaningful chasing ritual.
3.3 Secondary Diffusion of the Chasing Ritual
3.3.1 A Steady Drug Market and the Development of Drug Policy
In 3.2 the conditions for the emergence of the chasing ritual among the Surinamese in the first half of the 1970s were discussed. In the beginning of the 1990s chasing has emerged as the dominant administration ritual in all ethnic groups, involved in heroin (and cocaine) use. Several factors responsible for this secondary diffusion are equal or similar to those affecting the primary diffusion of chasing among the Surinamese, However, some specific factors facilitating this secondary diffusion can be distinguished. The general socio-economic conditions certainly did not improve during the second half of the 1970s and most of the 1980s. The enduring economic crisis resulted in high unemployment rates, in particular among youth and ethnic minorities. Especially young lower class people with unfinished educations, and little work skills and experience were affected by long-term unemployment.
The drug market factors, ultimately displayed in consumer level prices and purity, have been rather constant over the years. Korf and de Kort recently reviewed the literature on drug trafficking and enforcement and found that, although there is little scientific agreement, several authors assume a relation between repression, purity and prices." Although it somewhat decreased in the middle of the 1980s, the purity level of heroin has stabilized around 40% (table 3.3). Amsterdam police laboratory data on the quantity of heroin in, so called, 'user quantities' or 'shots' indicate a steady decrease in heroin quantity in samples collected over the years 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989. 15 The origin (house address or street sales) and packaging ('pakjes' (folded squares of paper) or 'balletjes' or 'bolletjes' (little heat sealed plastic balls)) of these samples is, however, not distinguished. Pakjes normally originate from house addresses, where the purchased quantity is weighed in the presence of the customer while balletjes are sold on the street. Most heroin is sold at house addresses and the field study did not indicate a decreased quantity in the observed heroin sales. Moreover, prices of heroin have been steadily decreasing over the years. After the initial marketing in 1971/2, heroin gram prices increased from between f 60 and f 75.- to between f 200.- and f 300.- in 1975/76. Since then, the price of heroin has decreased (apart from a few short crises in the second half of the 1970s with gram prices up to f 2000.-11) due to
the entrance of Turkish and Pakistani heroin trafficking groups on the Dutch market and changed enforcement priorities of local police forces. During the fieldwork (in Rotterdam) the price of heroin (and also of cocaine) was generally between f 100.and f 125.-, when sold in quantities of a gram. Compared to neighboring countries and the USA these prices are rather low.
The effects of these 'pure' market factors, as experienced by the users, became, however, increasingly modified by social and drug policy factors, as exemplified in the Dutch welfare system, law enforcement priorities, and the development of a 'low threshold' drug treatment and care system. Already in the early 1970s it was recognized that a single repressive approach to drug use would create more problems than it would solve. Recommendations from a government appointed 'working party on drugs', published in 1972, have determined Dutch drug policy to a great degree." The report emphasized, besides the enforcement of the opium act, a policy of assistance and care for addicts. The 1976 decriminalization of cannabis can be seen as a result of these early efforts in formulating a coherent drug policy. The separation of the, so called, soft-drug market and the hard-drug market must certainly have limited traditional pathways to heroin use. But by that time heroin use already had become a separate entity, with its own distinct pathways.
The initial attempts to formulate a national drug policy (e.g. of the, in 1974 formed, Interdepartmental Steering Group Drugs) did not have much impact on the heroin epidemic. In fact, the most obvious aspects of the since the middle of the 1970s developed policy may have had some stimulating effects at the height of the epidemic (± 1975-1985). It must however, be noted that it is doubtful if any measure would have had a short term positive impact on the epidemic. Thus, Swierstra et al. wondered if the policy of tolerance in some cases stimulated experimenting with heroin among youth which under a stricter legal policy would have been deterred. Likewise, they wondered if the large scale low treshold methadone dispension weakened the, so called, negative example function of junkyization as it postponed or prevented this phase .41 Furthermore, the absence of a balanced drug policy below the national level may have also stimulated the epidemic. Around 1980, at the peak of the epidemic, both Rotterdam and Amsterdam lodged large condensed street heroin scenes, which increasingly caused nuisance. Only after neighborhood complaints turned into activism, this became a political priority. Unaccustomed to the phenomenon, the naive reaction of the local authorities was heavy policing of the street scenes. As a result, the social ecology of the local heroin scenes changed drastically from a mainly street oriented scene to a myriad of small house based scenes spread over town. This induced two rather paradoxal effects. Firstly, it created a situation in which it was no longer necessary to actively frequent distinct copping areas in order to buy heroin. Many of the new heroin users in the early 1980s were initiated to the drug in their own neighborhoods.
But, on the other hand, it contributed greatly to the stabilization of the heroin problem. Since approximately 1985 the heroin epidemic seems to be stabilizing. Coincidentally, 1985 was also the year in which an important government policy document, largely based on the Janssen and Swierstra research, appeared not only sanctioning the developing practice, but also setting the tone for current Dutch drug policy.42 Important aspects of the current policy are the establishment of low threshold methadone (maintenance) programs. These programs are the core of the Dutch treatment system for heroin addiction and made a considerable contribution to the stabilization of the Dutch heroin using population. In comparison with, for example, methadone programs in New York, these programs are easy accessible and frequently do not sanction the additional use of illicit drugs. 43 They offer dependent users an alternative when black market purchases cannot be maintained. But, perhaps even more importantly, the police approach changed during the 1980s as enforcement priorities were reconsidered. Interdiction efforts are nowadays primarily focused at the import and wholesale levels. At the consumer level these new policies aim at the reduction of nuisance and allow for possession of quantities of hard drugs for personal use. Born out by experience the police understood that as long as nuisance stayed within certain limits the house addresses could best be left alone. This had an unquestionable impact on the Dutch consumer level heroin markets. From a rather volatile, aggressive and anonymous street market, consumption level dealing developed into a fairly steady premises based market, with closer connections between dealer and consumer. As the latter development had major implications for the diffusion of chasing, it will be discussed more in depth in 3.3.4.
At this point it can be determined that the stable Dutch drug market situation --of crucial importance for the maintenance of the chasing ritual-- is reinforced by the Dutch normalization policy.
3.3.2 Microdiffusion via Overlapping Subcultural Networks
Traditional white Dutch drug users often gathered at youth centers that arose at the end of the 1960s/early 1970s. These locales played (white American) psychedelic, blues and underground music (e.g. Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, John Mayall, Lou Reed), but also oriental music (e.g. Ravi Shankar from India). They were oriented at, and part of, a conscious counter culture and often labeled 'hippies' or 'cultural rebels'. 12 In contrast, after 1975 many of the new white Dutch drug users were working class adolescents, who initiated their heroin career via a different pathway. Initially they were involved in what one might call a non-deviant subculture and socialized at clubs where predominantly danceable (black American) soul and disco music (e.g. James Brown) was played. Not only in musical preference, also in style symbols, clothing and other characteristics these two groups of white adolescents differed: Afghani coats v.s. blazers and long leather coats; tight-fit (worn out) jeans v.s. fashionable polyester bell bottoms; cowboy boots v.s. snubnose and platform shoes. Indian scent perfumes (such as patchuly v.s. designer perfumes. Even the preferred type of moped was linked to the different groups. The 'hippies' rode a 'Puch' with high handle bars, which faintly resembled the easy rider style Harley Davidson. The disco youth rode a tuned up, air brushed and chrome plated Zundapp' with low handle bars, that looked more like a customized street racer. In the Groningen criminologist discourse, heroin users originating from this group were the new generation of 'former weekend busters'.' The differences between these groups were symbolized in the argot used by both groups to label the other. 'Blues kikker' (often preceded by the adjective dirty) v.s. 'soul knakker'. The groups did not think highly of each other. Blues kikkers were seen as lazy deviants and (before drug use entered the soul scene) 'hasj paffers' (hashish smokers) and drug users, a view that closely resembled that of their parents. In contrast, the soul knakkers were perceived as a-political conformist, beer drinking (also pre drugs) 'Joe Averages to be'.
Because of, in particular, similar musical preferences, the same disco clubs were also frequented by Surinamese and Moluccans (who's parents originally came from Ambon, an island confiscated by Indonesia after the independence from the Netherlands in 1949). Evidently, microdiffusion of heroin chasing occurred in these places. Around 1975 the Rotterdam disco clubs 'Willems Place' and 'Bristol' were important locales in the changing and expanding drug scene. Many young people were very rapidly introduced to illegal drugs in these clubs. First to cannabis (and, to a lesser degree, speed), soon after to heroin. After midnight, many adolescents were observed chasing in the less visible areas of the clubs. In these days, heroin was often packed in, and inhaled through paper money (the larger the denomination, the higher the status), indicating the experimental career phase of these new users .45 In this phase, microdiff usion may well have occurred via diff erent routes. The Moluccan group has presumably played a significant role in this process, as they kept relationships with both the Surinamese and the white Dutch. Taught by the Surinamese, Moluccans and Dutch may have initiated each other via overlapping friendship networks --the direction of diffusion depending on (unknown) situational factors. The information on these group dynamics is, however, too limited to make grounded statements. These new heroin users were thus initiated into heroin use in a highly different cultural setting, in which injecting was practically absent. Following this stage of microdiffusion, the process continued via the lines of the networks and peer groups of the new users.
3.3.3 Geographical or Macrodiffusion
It is generally assumed that heroin use first emerged in the big cities in the west of the Netherlands and then gradually spread over the rest of the country. 13 The little data available tends to support the concept of macrodiffusion as presented in paragraph 3.1. A recent study into drug use in a rural area in the East of the Netherlands by Korf et al. indicated that, although the first signs of illicit drug use stem from the late 1960s, heroin use came up in the second half of the 1970s and peaked around 1983/ 1984 .46 Another study by Korf et al. in some medium sized and smaller towns (5000 to 85000 residents) in the middle of the country showed that in the mid 1970s groups of adolescents and young adults started experimenting with several illicit drugs in the larger communities of the area, while in smaller ones drug use became viable some ten years later. Heroin entered this area at the end of that decennium, although there were significant local differences in time and drug of preference."
The pathways along which this macrodiffusion unfolded are for the largest part unclear. The following suggestions are derived from the existing data. Around 1980 the squatters' movement expanded considerably and spread (conceivably via analogous mechanisms of macrodiffusion) to smaller cities. Not only was the movement known for its high tolerance of deviant forms of expression, it consisted of extensive, and relatively stable networks across the country. At the same time the punk movement experienced a similar development. Although speed seems to have been the typical punk drug," heroin use was not uncommon. Partially, these two social movements were closely related. It is therefore assumed that they played a considerable role in the spread of heroin use. The important role of speed in these groups may indicate that injecting drug use spread along these network lines as well .48 Employment opportunities in the heroin market have supposedly contributed to the spread of heroin use 41 and the Surinamese dominance on the middle and lower levels suggests that this route mainly spread chasing. The in the preceding paragraph discussed clubs were also significant, as their public was not limited to city residents --visitors came from far outside the region. Most Moluccans visitors were from out of town, as the Moluccan communities are generally located outside the main cities. Both the above Korf et al. studies contain indications of Moluccan involvement in the macrodiffusion of chasing.46 47
Was the phase of primary diffusion characterized by a rather homogenous pattern, the secondary diffusion of chasing is marked by heterogeneity, i.e. different (ethnic) groups and pathways. The available data suggest a steady trend of ever increasing chasing prevalence, and a consequential decline of injecting. In certain networks injecting is certainly still the major self-administration ritual. These networks may well differ in drug use patterns. Prior drug experiences, such as injecting speed use, may therefore gain in importance again in defining the road to heroin injecting. Nevertheless, the chance that novice heroin users are actually initiated in such networks decreases parallel with the suggested trend.
3.3.4 The Changing Social Ecology of the Urban Drug Scenes
Although the historical developments of the heroin scenes in Rotterdam and Amsterdam can only be compared to a limited degree, there are some striking similarities. During the first half of the 1970s both scenes initially revolved around certain street corners and cafes in the city center. In both cities these locations were dominated by Surinamese, who controlled the street drug market. Drugs were sold on the streets and in the cafes. The Surinamese also used their drugs in these cafes, while other (white) users only frequented these areas to cop. In both cities these drug scenes grew rapidly throughout the 1970s. In Amsterdam, during the spring of 1979 a large group of drug users occupied the 'Doelen-building'. About 1200, mostly Surinamese, drug users visited the building daily. 23 Another large concentration of mainly Surinamese users existed in the Bijlmermeer, a new housing estate, where many Surinamese immigrants lived. In Rotterdam, 500 to 600 users gathered daily at the Kruiskade and at the Central Railway station. At the station restaurant an average of 150 users were constantly walking in and out, openly using and dealing drugs. At the end of the 1970s a call for harsh measures from the surrounding neighborhoods, that were fed up with the ever increasing nuisance, could be heard in both cities. The responses of the city administrations were also quite similar. Amsterdam first tried to disperse the population of the Doelen-building over so-called 'cafe-like accommodations', but as a result of intense neighborhood resistance and the meager success of this approach, these sanctuaries of drug use were closed down and the visitors scattered over the city. Initially this resulted in a growth of street drug activity, but the constant police pressure on drug users in the streets and in public places drove the scene indoors. Rotterdam equally responded with police pressure on the open street scene with a similar result --a move indoors and a gradual spread over the old neighborhoods. Today, the drug scenes in both cities are to a large degree located indoors. In this respect, the large scale urban renewal process, which in both cities resulted in a large stock of empty housing awaiting renovation, has been of crucial importance. The success of the shift indoors would have been highly dubious without this independently co-occurring process, as it provided the locations for the new style heroin scene to emerge. In Rotterdam only limited street drug activity remained, primarily around the central railway station. In Amsterdam the remaining street drug activity is more substantial, mostly in the old city center and in some parts of the Bijlmermeer.
An important facilitating aspect of the shift to house addresses is the protected environment it offered. An injector can mostly find a quiet place to quickly shoot up. Chasing is a more time consuming process than injecting. Therefore, Chasers have benefitted more from by the relaxed atmosphere the house address offers. And this does not only refer to non-user interference, but to climatological ones as well --wind thwarts efficient chasing as it can blow the powder drug or its fumes away. The importance of such instrumental considerations is also demonstrated by the recent developments around cocaine smoking in Rotterdam. In 1988 basing became popular at the house addresses. In addition to chasing their coke, people started basing from specially prepared water glasses and, to a lesser degree from commercial crack pipes, sold at head shops. When this fad diffused into the street scene, the bulky water glass was soon substituted by pocket size pipes made from disposable lighters, straws, aluminum foil, tape and rubbers. This transformation displays an interesting resemblance with the development of the crack smoking ritual in the USA. When crack emerged around 1985, the drug was mostly used in 'crack houses'. Often it was used in crack pipes -glass pipes with an air chamber. But soon the drug was smoked in the streets and the bulky crack pipes were replaced by the 'stem'. A stem is a little glass tube of ± 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) with a diameter of ± 0.8 to 1 cm In the top it has a brass or steel wool filter (a 'brillo') about 1 cm from the end, The crack is put on the brillo and when heated with a lighter the drug melts and evaporates. The vapors are inhaled through the stem. The stem combines its small dimensions, which, in contrast with a crack pipe, makes it easy to carry around, with its applicability under diverse climatological conditions. Although it is not impossible to chase outside --often telephone booths, porches and trams are used--, the sheltered environment of the house address has definitely facilitated the development of the chasing ritual. This socio-ecological change was furthermore the soil in which the role-modelling factor,
which is perhaps of even larger importance, could nourish.
3.3.5 Social Learning: The Surinamese Dealers as Role Models and Rule Makers
The evolving indoor scene centered around house addresses where drugs were both used and sold. At these places the dealers were often Surinamese --they merely moved their shops from the street into the house addresses. Throughout the years they maintained their dominant positions in the consumer level distribution of heroin and from the early 1980s on, cocaine was added to their merchandise." Due to the police pressure on the streets, the house address became a place where one not only buys, but also consumes drugs and socializes with friends. As a result, drug users spent considerably more time together, often in a pub-like atmosphere. The field study data indicate that chasing at house addresses frequently is a social activity --users sit around a table, talk, chase and often share drugs. (In contrast, IDUs more often use alone or in couples. They frequent house addresses, but mostly to buy drugs to use elsewhere.)
Were the contacts between Surinamese and Dutch users prior to the shift indoors often limited to short interactions in the context of street drug transactions, in the house address setting these contacts became much more frequent and extensive. This situation facilitated , mutual communication, the development of multifaceted relationships (beyond the economic utility of the dealing context) and cultural diffusion processes. Because the Surinamese generally occupied the more prestigious (dealing) positions, they were the dominant cultural group at the house addresses. As a result, the Surinamese dealers ordinarily set the rules at house addresses and, as they generally feel a strong dislike of injecting, they often prohibited injecting. This explains, for example, the recent finding of Grapendaal and Aidala, that German heroin users (who are predominantly IDUs) travelling to Arnhem (a town close to the Dutch/German border) to buy heroin and/or cocaine avoid dealing addresses that are controlled by Surinamese or Antillean dealers .49 As a result, the norm at house addresses was (and still is) chasing. Such norms, customs, rituals and other forms of appropriate behavior are generally passed on (unconsciously) during the performance of relevant activities (social learning). Thus, because of their prestigious position at the house addresses the Surinamese dealers have acted as role models for many of their clients, especially for newcomers. They were able to set the rules and provided models for appropriate behavior, which discouraged injecting.
3.3.6 Ethnic Drug Treatment
Finally, the way how distinct ethnic minorities were handled in drug treatment and assistance programs may have contributed to the spread of chasing. In particular in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, programs for ethnic minorities were very often designed to suit the Surinamese group. When applying for treatment (mostly during the late 1970s and early 1980s), Antillean, Moluccan users, Moroccans (in the 1980s) and users from other ethnic minorities were sent to programs that were dominated by Surinamese clients. Such measures have smoothened contacts between these groups and created a situation --conform to the conditions of microdiffusion-- which favored and reinforced chasing. Likewise, prison contacts may have had similar effects on the relations between all ethnic groups represented in the drug scene.
This chapter explored the factors involved in the spread of the chasing ritual, using the concept of diffusion. The next chapter will investigate the resulting shift from injecting to chasing as the dominant administration ritual among Dutch heroin users by quantitatively testing a hypothesis, derived from the diffusion model.
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*1 'Ons' is a somewhat obsolete term for 100 grams in the metric system. Both the terms 'ons' and 'pond' (500 grams) are outlawed in regular commercial enterprise in The Netherlands. At market places, however, one can often find produce that is still priced by the pond, indicating how slow such usage changes. Thus the transition from the use of avoirdupois to metric in heroin transactions seems rather rapid.
*2 . Recent reports indicate a comparable purity level in seizures in other European countries. There are, however, no data regarding size and level of seized samples, nor about the differences between importation and consumer level purity.
*3 * Little more than 10 years later, similar accounts were heard from novice Moroccan heroin users.
*4 * Janssen and Swierstra also distinguished an older generation of former weekend busters. These were mostly IDUs and, before heroin, speed played a prominent role in their drug use career. In contrast, in the later group speed played a less important role and injecting was uncommon.