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Old 29.11.2008, 11:13
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Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

By Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Bern

Voters in Switzerland go to the polls on Sunday to decide whether to make a controversial heroin prescription programme a permanent, nationwide health policy.
The Swiss government supports the idea but opponents say it encourages drug addiction, and sends the wrong message to young people.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s Switzerland had one of the highest rates of heroin addiction in Europe.
Open drug scenes in cities such as Zurich, Basel and Bern were common, with addicts injecting and dealers selling publicly in the streets and parks.

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Old 30.11.2008, 15:37
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Re: Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

It's an interesting polling day with many issues waiting for decisions.

Most politicians by now support the "four columns drug policies" (prevention, therapy, survival help, repression). But there is an ongoing discussion how these aspects should be weighted, and the Heroin program is controversial. The new drug law is about to be accepted with about 70% yes votes though.
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Old 30.11.2008, 16:02
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Re: Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

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It's an interesting polling day with many issues waiting for decisions.

Most politicians by now support the "four columns drug policies" (prevention, therapy, survival help, repression). But there is an ongoing discussion how these aspects should be weighted, and the Heroin program is controversial. The new drug law is about to be accepted with about 70% yes votes though.
70% yes vote hardly seems controversial. Actually the program has been operating successfully for nearly 10 years, and functions quite well...
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Old 30.11.2008, 16:22
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Re: Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

If it aint broke dont fix it. This programme seems to be working perfectly well,I heard when it was introduced drug related crime went down by 80%, now that cannot be a bad thing.
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Old 30.11.2008, 17:05
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Re: Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

One opinion on the BBC was that the average age for heroin addicts in Switzerland is 40. The person quoting this statistic claimed this indicates the program is keeping kids off smack. Of course, it could also be that it's just not in fashion with the young set.

I read through every referendum text and realized I can only vote on gut feel, not on facts. In situations where I do not feel competent to vote intelligently, I abstain rather than skew the vote with an emotional reaction.
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Old 30.11.2008, 18:45
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Re: Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

As long as prescription is linked to support and rehabilitation, it has my total support.

The benefits far outweigh any negative messages. Unfortunately, drugs are a fact of life now and it is far better to work with the addicts rather than just banning the supply.

Addicts would get a safe supply, rather than some dodgy contaminated stuff.
The link beween addicts and the pushers could be broken.
The link to crime could also be broken. Much of the minor crime (thefts from cars, shoplifting etc.) and prostitution is directly linked to drug-taking.
Removing prescription services would put many more people into the underworld of the pushers.
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Old 01.12.2008, 13:16
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Re: Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

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70% yes vote hardly seems controversial. Actually the program has been operating successfully for nearly 10 years, and functions quite well...
Instead of controversial I should've written main issue of the No comitee. However when Switzerland and a few other countries began experiments with heroin prescription ten years ago, they were harshly criticised by the World Health Organisation. I hope the institution has changed its opinion on the subject in the meantime. Personally I agree with Oldhand, to me it's part of a practical solution for a horrible situation.

Last edited by Nathu; 01.12.2008 at 13:37.
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Old 02.12.2008, 21:27
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Re: Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

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Instead of controversial I should've written main issue of the No comitee. However when Switzerland and a few other countries began experiments with heroin prescription ten years ago, they were harshly criticised by the World Health Organisation. I hope the institution has changed its opinion on the subject in the meantime. Personally I agree with Oldhand, to me it's part of a practical solution for a horrible situation.
Agreed...the WHO has been quite critical of Switzerland for their actions on this program, but it is hard to argue with results...perhaps that is why Australia, Canada, UK, Holland, and others have implemented test programs based on the Swiss system. Germany did as well, but the voters refused to approve and extend the program, so it shut down...
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Old 30.11.2008, 16:00
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Re: Swiss vote on radical heroin rules

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But opponents of heroin prescription, like Sabine Geissbuhler of the association Parents Against Drugs, say that attitude is exactly what is wrong.

[...]

But Ms Geissbuhler is not convinced.

"That's not a life," she insists. "I have four children, and I would never, never, put them into a heroin prescription programme. What kind of freedom is that? I'd rather they were dead."

Ms Geissbuhler seems to be one of those judgemental moral crusaders the world would be much better off without. I wonder if she would be so willing to kill her children if they were diagnosed with diabetes ?
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