And the fact is that Amsterdam’s heroin-addict population has been stable or falling for two decades. That’s even though, since 2002, the Dutch authorities have been doing something even more radical than Portugal’s for heroin users: they’ve been giving them free heroin, as long as they show up to inject at government-run "safe injection points", under the eyes of police and health staff. Dutch drug researchers now say that the youth population "doesn’t relate to hard drugs at all", and that there’s no danger that Dutch kids reading the advice site will find heroin use attractive. They’re more likely to find it pathetic.
Drug abuse is driven to a significant extent by fashion. If there’s one thing government has going for it, it’s the ability to make anything unfashionable.