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Old Dutch Junkies Retire Comfortably

In this old-folks home, drug users who are "beyond rehabilitation" can do their thing in peace. 

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Resident Marcel enjoys a cigar at
Woodstock. Photo via

By Bryan Le

02/17/12

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The Woodstock old-age home in the Netherlands might not have the youth and music of its namesake, but it does have the drugs. The center was opened in The Hague in December 2008 to keep elderly drug users off the streets and provide them with free room, board and methadone treatments. Treatments are optional—residents are even allowed limited use of hard drugs. “This is real freedom,” says 65-year-old resident William, smoking a ball of cocaine. “I like it here. Here there is no police watching you.” Home to 33 residents, Woodstock gives old-timers a chance to detox in a stress-free environment, but doesn't try to rehabilitate them. “In fact, our criteria state you can only get into Woodstock if you're over 45 and after a medical examination declares you are beyond rehabilitation,” says the home's manager, Nils Hollenborg. The center has helped to reduce crime in The Hague—a few years ago elderly drug addicts accounted for 9% of petty crimes, but the figure has since dropped to 5%.

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