In the Netherlands, where addicts receive free medical care and methadone from the state, death rates from drug use are the lowest in Europe. Half the nation's users are now over 40, and many are in their 60s. Seniorenpand takes a very Dutch approach to addiction. Though encouraged to consume fewer drugs, residents are free to buy heroin and cocaine on the street. The main aim is to help addicts see out their final years in comfort and dignity. "We do not deal drugs to the residents, but we don't forbid them to use them either," said Alexander Hogendoorn, the home's manager. "Some people reach a point where their addiction is irreversible, so our goal is to give them some stability and quality of life until the end comes." Though small and modestly equipped, Seniorenpand certainly beats living on the streets. Each resident has a private room with a television and a sink. Outside contractors do the cleaning and cooking. Medical staff visit regularly, and a social worker is on hand around the clock. To an outsider, the blend of domesticity and drugs can seem almost surreal. One resident, for instance, has a set of needles for her knitting and another for injecting heroin. Henny, 51, listens to Bach CDs in his spotless bedroom. Arranged neatly on the desk are a mobile phone, books, family photos - and a plastic sachet filled with brown residue. "That was the heroin I snorted last night," he said, holding up the tiny bag. "It was pretty good stuff." "Old addicts are just like other old people," said Carmel, 58. "All we want is a safe, quiet place where we can get on with our lives."