Switzerland Addresses HLM

The Swiss delegate addressed the High Level Meeting today as follows:

“10 years ago 70% of Swiss people viewed issues of narcotic drugs to be among the most major problems in society, now only 10% so view it. How come? In the 1980s Switzerland saw some open drug scenes which had a damaging effect to those using and to society as a whole. Human misery become visible in a manner unprecedented. In 1990s the policy adopted, a policy of enforcement, was showing its limitations. A new solution was clearly required to be able to deal effectively with this problem whilst remaining within the framework of prohibition. We adopted a different approach based on four pillars – prevention, treatment, harm reduction and enforcement. These four pillars are complementary and each reinforces the others. In November last year the swiss voters chose to incorporate this strategy into the national legislation. The most distinctive component of our strategy is harm reduction – a focus on efforts to reduce the consequences of drug abuse to the individual and to society as a whole and it focuses on the threats to public health posed by HIV AIDS. Harm reduction includes medical programmes of needle exchange, these efforts reduce harm and assist survival and have had a tangible result – the deaths have fallen by more than half, and death of HIV AIDS has dropped by 80% – the number of addicts has fallen and their general health has improved. Treatment based on heroin has reduced drug related crime by 70% so Switzerland has effectively combatted the drug problem with its four pillar strategy. This approach has won wide recognition and has inspired other countries.”

“In the course of this preparatory process to the HLM, Switzerland worked hard to have acknowledged that supply reduction and demand reduction is not enough. Nevertheless it is nonetheless indespensible in our view to eliminate negative impacts of drug use for our citizens and society. Since these measures help to reduce HIV AIDS they are an essential contribution to achieving millennium development goals. These measures respect human rights including the right to health which must be respected in all circumstances. Switzerland would have like to see a pragmatic approach. Of course the fight against trafficking is essential but assistance to drug users is also essential but this has not been focussed upon in the political declaration”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.