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Sunday, November 30, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Swiss approve prescription heroin

Swiss voters have backed a change in health policy that would provide prescription heroin to addicts.

Final results from the national referendum showed 68% of voters supported the plan.

The scheme, where addicts inject the drug under medical supervision at a clinic, began in Zurich 14 years ago before spreading across the country.

But in another referendum, the Swiss appear to have rejected the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Interesting, especially since one would assume that any type of liberalization concerning heroin would be more controversial than decriminalization of marijuana.

This is an example of harm reduction policies in regards to addictive drugs–the acknowledgement that drug addicts will exist no matter what punitive policies are put into place and that it is better to treat the issue as a public health concern that is to be managed, rather than a simple question of crime and punishment.

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2 Responses to “Drug Vote in Switzerland”

  1. Ratoe Says:

    I don’t necessarily see any inconsistency amongst Swiss voters.

    I don’t know the details, but from what you posted, the heroin measure isn’t really “liberalization” but rather a support for a medical treatment for addiction.

    In rejecting the cannabis measure, maybe the generally conservative Swiss don’t want to see their country turn into a Holland-style playground for annoying pot-smoking foreign tourists?

  2. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

    Oh, I think it clearly rates as liberalization.

    In rejecting the cannabis measure, maybe the generally conservative Swiss don’t want to see their country turn into a Holland-style playground for annoying pot-smoking foreign tourists?

    I expect you are quite correct here.


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