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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Live drug taking plan on Dutch TV
Heroin
The possession of heroin in the Netherlands is illegal
A presenter on a new chat show in the Netherlands is planning to take drugs such as heroin live on air, aiming to tackle issues facing young people.

The show, due to go out next month, is called Spuiten & Slikken, translated as "shoot up and swallow".

News of the show has concerned the ruling centre-right Christian Democrat Party, whose spokesman said it was "dangerous" and set a "bad example".

It is unclear whether presenter Filemon Wesselink would face prosecution.

Even in the liberal Netherlands, where marijuana is sold and used openly, the proposed action by presenter Filemon is technically illegal.

But Justice Ministry spokesman Ivo Hommes told the Associated Press news agency that while possession of any amount of heroin is illegal in the Netherlands, in practice things can differ. He said police usually do not have resources to chase after people with less than a half a gram of the narcotic.

"The actual taking of drugs is a health problem, not a criminal act, though it's obviously hard to take drugs without possessing them first," Mr Hommes said.

"In any case it's not something we endorse, and doing it on television is undesirable."

The show's format features its main host interviewing guests about drug use and abuse while Wesselink and another presenter carry out in-the-field experiments with sex and drugs.

Drinking binge

Wesselink, 26, plans to smoke a heroin pill, said Ingrid Timmer, a spokeswoman for the show's producer BNN.

"It's not our intention to create an outcry. We just want to talk about subjects that are part of young people's lives," said Ms Timmer.

In other segments of the show, Wesselink plans to go on a drinking binge in a series of pubs. He also plans to take the hallucinogenic drug LSD - on his couch under the supervision of his mother.

BNN has courted controversy with its shows in the past, including a sex education programme which featured life-size mannequins with sex organs.


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