CND Day 4 – Switzerland plenary statement on drug demand reduction

Last year met at high-level segment to reaffirm support for fight against drugs and adopt a political declaration and action plan. But what have we actually done to stem demand reduction? IN Switzerland a health survey is conducted every five years where young people are asked about their use of illicit drugs.

Use of illicit drugs has been stable. Twenty percent said yes and in most cases the drug in question was cannabis. Recently however a spike has been witnessed in cocaine use. Almost twice as many men as women admitted to using cocaine. Not a major increase in the use of heroin.

Pennies for prevention are better than pounds for cure. Switzerland is working on research and intervention projects and the initiatives that are developed will be circulated. Secondary prevention programmes including early intervention projects have been developed.

Treatment is a second pillar for drug policy. Switzerland is working to improve the quality of substitution therapy. A quality standard has been developed requiring the certification for outpatient and inpatient treatment. However, the state ensures that drug dependent individuals have access to the basic services offered by the national health care system.

The last and financially least supported, though no less important to the Swiss drug demand reduction strategy, is on harm reduction. This includes NSPs, injection rooms and other programmes. This can reduce risky behaviour and the spread of disease.

Prisons remain high-risk areas. A project has been set up to combat the prevalence of infectious diseases in prison. Would strongly support the collaboration of member states both within the CND and the PCB on exchange of information and coordination.

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