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The Global Education Office (GEO) and The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs  at Virginia Commonwealth University are excited to offer a new opportunity to study abroad in The Netherlands and earn 3 credits of CRJS 491/591.  

Globally, intravenous drug use (IVDU) is a public health concern. In the United States (US) in 2017 there were over 72,000 drug-related overdose deaths, with over 47,000 attributed to the use of opioids. The increased use of heroin has been attributed to the over-prescribing of opioids by physicians. In the Netherlands, there were 262 total drug-related deaths in 2017. Though there are a number of explanations for the significant differences in deaths among the two countries, it is important to note that a central feature of the response to drug use in the Netherlands is harm reduction (needle exchange programs, supervised drug consumption facilities, Medication Assisted Treatment, and treatment for infectious diseases). Generally, the US has been slow to embrace harm reduction strategies that have the ability to reduce the consequences of unsanitary IVDU and needle sharing practices. Given the continuing problems of drug use in the US, it is important to study harm reduction strategies that reduce health risks associated with IVDU and increase access to treatment services from a cross-cultural perspective. 

While in Amsterdam and The Hague we will visit with harm reduction professionals, police, courts, and correctional professions to learn about the benefits of harm reduction to users and the public. In addition, CEPA has scheduled visits to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, Amsterdam City Hall, a forensic psychiatric facility, detention facility, International Criminal Court, Europol, and Eurojust.

The dates are May 31-June 14 for travel. Prior to leaving the US we will meet to prepare and after we return we will meet to debrief.

The link to the program through GEO is here. There are limited scholarships available through GEO. Please contact Dr. Cook at if you have questions. 

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