Statistics and other data regarding drugs and drug policies in Switzerland, covering all areas including public safety/criminal justice, public health, harm reduction, treatment, and prevention

Zurich's 'Needle Park'

(Zurich's 'Needle Park') "Increasingly desperate to find a way to control crime and social and health harms associated with injection drug use, in 1987 the Zürich authorities allowed people who used illicit drugs to gather in a defined space near the main train station—the Platzspitz park, which sat on a small spit of land surrounded by the water of two converging rivers (Grob 1995). This space came to be known as the 'needle park.' Up to 1,000 drug users per day would come to the park at its peak (Grob 2010).

Treatment Description

(Treatment Description) "Despite the availability of a wide range of treatment programs, including methadone substitution, not all drug addicts with serious health and social problems could be motivated to enter treatment. A core group remained, which was characterized by numerous social and physical deficiencies. In an attempt to reach this group, Heroin on prescription was launched in 1994 as part of a nationally-based research project.

Decline in Heroin Use

(Decline in Heroin Use) "Heroin misuse in Switzerland was characterised by a substantial decline in heroin incidence and by heroin users entering substitution treatment after a short time, but with a low cessation rate. There are different explanations for the sharp decline in incidence of problematic heroin use. According to Ditton and Frischer, such a steep decline in incidence of heroin use is caused by the quick slow down of the number of non-using friends who are prepared to become users in friendship chains.

Switching to Methadone Maintenance

(Switching to Methadone Maintenance) "Finally, the analysis of the reasons for interrupting treatment revealed that, even in the group of those treated for less than one year, the majority did not actually drop out of the program but rather changed the type of treatment, mostly either methadone maintenance or abstinence treatment.

Harm Reduction Policies and Incidence of HIV

(Harm Reduction Policies and Incidence of HIV) "For the last 15 years, the federal government has therefore been supporting a variety of measures (e.g. needle-exchange programs, injection rooms, housing and employment programs) in order to improve the health and the lifestyle of drug addicts and to prevent the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases. Compared with the late 1980s, the incidence of new HIV infections among drug addicts has decreased significantly."