A sensible drug policy.

At least one country has managed to get there.

The heroin program, started in 1994, is offered in 23 centers across Switzerland. It has helped eliminate scenes of large groups of drug users shooting up openly in parks that marred Swiss cities in the 1980s and 1990s and is credited with reducing crime and improving the health and daily lives of addicts.

The policy is part of a so-called "four pillar" strategy combining repression, prevention, treatment and risk reduction.

The nearly 1,300 selected addicts, who have been unhelped by other therapies, visit one of the centers twice a day to receive the carefully measured dose of heroin produced by a government-approved laboratory.

They keep their paraphernalia in cups labeled with their names and use the equipment and clean needles to inject themselves — four at a time — under the supervision of a nurse, and also receive counseling from psychiatrists and social workers.

If the incredibly conservative Swiss society can manage to deal with hte problem in this entirely pragmatic manner, why in hell can\’t we?

7 comments on “A sensible drug policy.

  1. My cousin is a libertarian councillor in Geneva, and he makes it clear that it’s conservative Swiss pragmatism wot won it. They tried prohibition – as we are trying – and it didn’t work. The alternative did work. Another federal referendum yesterday, on decriminalising cannabis, failed. Why? Because the conservative Swiss think they haven’t lost that battle yet, so don’t feel decriminalisation is ‘needed’. Both policies are very much borne out of their conservatism.

  2. it puzzles me that someone as greedy as Gordon Brown would not have wanted to impose taxes on drugs such as cannabis, heroin and cocaine – as a result of legalising their consumption

  3. What do the specially selected addicts do with their life when not hanging around the shooting up centre (in small groups) ?

  4. Not very much, at a guess – but that encompasses ‘not very much stealing or mugging’, rather than ‘lots of it’.

    Hmm… Given that

    They keep their paraphernalia in cups labeled with their names and use the equipment and clean needles to inject themselves

    are the police allowed to gather reference samples of fingerprints and DNA to compare against evidence collected at crime scenes? If these 1300 are not involved in crime, so much the better for demonstrating the success of the scheme.

  5. Why aren’t we?

    Well, maybe it’s because we would rather behave like a mob of angry seagulls, than address the problem in a rational way.

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