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Switzerland's Liberal Drug Policy Seems To Work, Study Says
Medical News Today ^ | 02 Jun 2006 | Joe Santangelo

Posted on 06/03/2006 12:37:09 PM PDT by Know your rights

Switzerland's policy of offering heroin addicts substitution treatment with methadone or buprenorphine has led to a decline in the number of new heroin users in Zurich, according to a paper published in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Switzerland has implemented various policies to try and reduce harm to dependent heroin users, including needle-exchange services, low-threshold methadone programmes, and heroin-assisted treatments. However, critics say that these policies may lead to a growing number of new drug users and lengthen the period of heroin addiction.

To investigate, Carlos Nordt and Rudolf Stohler from the Psychiatric University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland analysed data from over 7250 patients in Zurich who presented for substitution treatments with methadone or buprenorphine over 13 years from 1991. From this data they estimated trends in the number of new heroin users. They found that the incidence of heroin use dropped from 850 new users in 1990 to 150 in 2002. The authors contrast the situation with heroin use in the UK, Italy, and Australia, which has continued to rise. They also found a low cessation (quit) rate and therefore, the overall number of heroin dependents, whether in treatment or not, only declined by 4% per year.

Dr Nordt states: "As the Swiss population supported this drug policy, this medicalisation of opiate dependence changed the image of heroin use as a rebellious act to an illness that needs therapy. Finally, heroin seems to have become a 'loser drug', with its attractiveness fading for young people. Nevertheless, whether drug policy had a positive effect on the number of new heroin users or not, our data could not confirm an increase of heroin incidence as expected by the critics of the liberal Swiss drug policy."


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: addiction; bongbrigade; drugs; drugskilledbelushi; heroin; knowyourleroy; leroyknowshisrights; losertarians; mrleroy; switzerland; warondrugs; wod; wodlist
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1 posted on 06/03/2006 12:37:11 PM PDT by Know your rights
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To: Know your rights
Finally, heroin seems to have become a 'loser drug', with its attractiveness fading for young people. Wait until the Swiss get a closeup look at meth.Their "progressive" attitude toward drugs might backfire....badly...with meth.
2 posted on 06/03/2006 12:40:15 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative
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To: Gay State Conservative
Swiss get a closeup look at meth.Their "progressive" attitude toward drugs might backfire....badly...with meth

And ours is working?
.
3 posted on 06/03/2006 12:44:23 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: Gay State Conservative
Their "progressive" attitude toward drugs might backfire....badly...with meth.

Sure, it "might" backfire, perhaps even "badly" so, in some hypothetical fantasy, but for now, here in reality, it hasn't backfired - but rather it seems to work.

4 posted on 06/03/2006 12:44:50 PM PDT by AntiGuv ("..I do things for political expediency.." - Sen. John McCain on FOX News)
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To: Gay State Conservative
Wait until the Swiss get a closeup look at meth.Their "progressive" attitude toward drugs might backfire....badly...with meth.

Meth is much harder on its users than is heroin ... but why would that mean a bad backfire, when their heroin policy seems to be succeeding?

5 posted on 06/03/2006 12:48:57 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: mugs99
Well, Singapore's drug program works pretty well too and has a far, far better success rate than Switzerland's.


6 posted on 06/03/2006 12:50:02 PM PDT by Vigilanteman (crime would drop like a sprung trapdoor if we brought back good old-fashioned hangings)
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To: mugs99
And ours is working?

Yes, according to the criminals it enriches and the LEOs and bureacrats it employs.

7 posted on 06/03/2006 12:50:18 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Vigilanteman
Singapore's drug program works pretty well

I don't want this Land of the Free to become another Singapore ... do you?

8 posted on 06/03/2006 12:51:21 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Ken H
Ken, don't you have statistics on the "success" of Singapore's drug policy?
9 posted on 06/03/2006 12:52:34 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Know your rights
Theodore Dalrymple has an interesting take on heroin addiction.
10 posted on 06/03/2006 12:55:44 PM PDT by KayEyeDoubleDee (const Tag &referenceToConstTag)
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To: Vigilanteman

LOL, I keep seeing that "noose" lately.


11 posted on 06/03/2006 12:57:56 PM PDT by wolficatZ (Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle -"You'll hang for this!")
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To: Vigilanteman
Well, Singapore's drug program works pretty well too and has a far, far better success rate than Switzerland's.

Drugs are plentiful and cheap in Singapore. Their war on drugs is working as well as our war on drugs.
.
12 posted on 06/03/2006 1:00:44 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: Know your rights

SOMALIA: Libertarian Paradise.

13 posted on 06/03/2006 1:02:02 PM PDT by martin_fierro (FRee Charles Henrickson!)
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To: martin_fierro
SOMALIA: Libertarian Paradise

No, Somalia is a Theocratic paradise.
.
14 posted on 06/03/2006 1:05:06 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: martin_fierro
SOMALIA: Libertarian Paradise.

In what sense is Somalia "libertarian"?

15 posted on 06/03/2006 1:06:43 PM PDT by Know your rights (The modern enlightened liberal doesn't care what you believe as long as you don't really believe it.)
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To: Know your rights

methadone treatment is available around the USA---but one is still physically addited to opiates. WHAT A DRAG!!!


16 posted on 06/03/2006 1:10:34 PM PDT by wildcatf4f3 (Islam Schmislam blahblahblah, enough already!)
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To: Know your rights

Imagine that. A study, published in the media, showing how effective a liberal policy is.

I bet they can even provide a graph to back it up.


17 posted on 06/03/2006 1:19:01 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: wildcatf4f3
methadone treatment is available around the USA---but one is still physically addited to opiates. WHAT A DRAG!!!

Very few addicts require methadone to quit. Thousands of American servicemen became addicted to heroin in Viet Nam. Almost all quit with no problem when they returned home. Methadone is to a heroin addict what a nicotine patch is to a tobacco addict.
.
18 posted on 06/03/2006 1:22:35 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
Do you equate Medical News Today with the mainstream media?
19 posted on 06/03/2006 1:23:34 PM PDT by andrew2527
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To: Gay State Conservative
Swiss get a closeup look at meth.Their "progressive" attitude toward drugs might backfire....badly...with meth

The black market established from the prohibition of cocaine is one reason for the swelling meth problem. If the cost of cocaine was reduced with decriminalization the incentive to make meth would be reduced accordingly.

If you had to choose between meth addiction and cocaine addiction most health/psych care professionals I am associated with would pick cocaine as the lesser of the two evils.

The WOD has unintended consequences.

20 posted on 06/03/2006 1:25:27 PM PDT by corkoman
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To: Vigilanteman

You don't actually have statistics to back up your claim, do you? I'm assuming you don't simply because Singapore's number of heroin addicts has been rising since the mid 80s.


21 posted on 06/03/2006 1:25:39 PM PDT by AntiGuv ("..I do things for political expediency.." - Sen. John McCain on FOX News)
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To: mugs99
Very few addicts require methadone to quit. Thousands of American servicemen became addicted to heroin in Viet Nam. Almost all quit with no problem when they returned home. Methadone is to a heroin addict what a nicotine patch is to a tobacco addict.

Dependance is distinct from addiction. Addiction includes a seeking behavior and other cultural associations. Soldiers dependant on opiates are much more easily detoxed because they no longer have a need for the drug. Once back at home the stresses that were an incentive to smoke opium are all but gone and recidivism is very low.

22 posted on 06/03/2006 1:29:53 PM PDT by corkoman
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To: andrew2527

Actually, the study was originally published in The Lancet. Which is the definitive source for the hard left on Iraqi civilian casualties.

Just because a media outlet calls itself a "medical journal" doesn't means it's above reproach. More often, it just means they'd like you to think they are.


23 posted on 06/03/2006 1:30:30 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: mugs99
Methadone is to a heroin addict what a nicotine patch is to a tobacco addict.

That's a good analogy.

24 posted on 06/03/2006 1:30:59 PM PDT by corkoman
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To: corkoman
The WOD has unintended consequences.

Every war ever fought in the history of mankind has had unintended consequences.

25 posted on 06/03/2006 1:31:47 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: corkoman
That's a good analogy.

Came to that conclusion after seeing my neighbor wearing his nicotine patch for three years.
.
26 posted on 06/03/2006 1:34:40 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: AntiGuv
You don't actually have statistics to back up your claim, do you? I'm assuming you don't simply because Singapore's number of heroin addicts has been rising since the mid 80s.

As far as I'm concerned, Singapore's "solution" could be 100% efficacious and I'd still find it counter to the principles of individual liberty. Furthermore, anyone who would back such a penalty for drug use, and I know that you don't, is a numbskull.

27 posted on 06/03/2006 1:34:46 PM PDT by Live and let live conservative (Capitalism: It works, give it a try America.)
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To: Know your rights
Switzerland has implemented various policies to try and reduce harm to dependent heroin users, including needle-exchange services, low-threshold methadone programmes, and heroin-assisted treatments.

A junkie-friendly nanny-state. How libertarian.

28 posted on 06/03/2006 1:35:03 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: Know your rights
You certainly got that one right.

Add in the costs of burglaries [to get money to buy high priced drugs]; the criminal culture of gangs that are enabled by the high price of drugs; the likelihood that many of you reading this post would have a criminal record if you had been caught smoking dope or whatever; the load the war on drugs has placed on the judicial system and the jails .., and the fact that the war on drugs will only be won when there is no cash and all of us citizens have our very own RFID embedded in our bodies.

The Harrison Act was unconstitutional and all the Federal laws and regulations since then have only made matters worse.

29 posted on 06/03/2006 1:35:19 PM PDT by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
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To: martin_fierro

Why do you claim that Somalia is a libertarian paradise? Libertarian don't claim Somalia.

Libertarians generally look to the most free countries in the world, such as the U.S., Chile, Switzerland, Singapore and New Zealand, and then identify where these countries are inconsistent with their commitment to freedom.

BTW According to Freedom House, Somalia is one of the most unfree countries in the world, just this side of Cuba.

And, on the issue of drugs, are you saying that Somalia has a liberatarian approach to drugs? I thought repressive Muslim countries have the kind of drug policy that conservatives advocate, but what do I know?


30 posted on 06/03/2006 1:35:57 PM PDT by Redmen4ever
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
Just because a media outlet calls itself a "medical journal" doesn't means it's above reproach. More often, it just means they'd like you to think they are.

So, where is your above reproach data that contradicts theirs?
.
31 posted on 06/03/2006 1:38:07 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: Gay State Conservative
Wait until the Swiss get a closeup look at meth.Their "progressive" attitude toward drugs might backfire....badly...with meth.

Switzerland has the highest percentage Muslim population in Europe. Their progressive policies don't have much longer to live anyway.

32 posted on 06/03/2006 1:39:20 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard

Genuine thanks for the clarification. I had no idea.


33 posted on 06/03/2006 1:39:39 PM PDT by andrew2527
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
A junkie-friendly nanny-state. How libertarian.

I agree with you - that is a good thing. Unless you prefer the totalitarian mess that the WOD has brought us. Or do you prefer that noose thing for people who use naughty vegetables?

34 posted on 06/03/2006 1:40:40 PM PDT by corkoman
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard

Switzerland is not a junkie-nannie state. Because drug-addicts do not rapidly succumb to illness (leading to death), they are not involved in pushing drugs onto junior high school children, street prostitution, violent crime and the like, but can hold down steady jobs. These addicts generally pay for their own jobs and do not receive welfare. Hopefully, they will end their abuse of drugs, just as we all hope that those use abuse alcohol and tobacco in this country, but the social problems we all face because of legal drugs are not comparable to those who face from illegal drugs. It is in our country that drug-addicts are a major burden on the taxpayer, not even counting the cost of police and incarceration, but only counting the cost of taxpayer-funded drug maintenance programs, welfare, food stamps, etc., to drug addicts.


35 posted on 06/03/2006 1:41:52 PM PDT by Redmen4ever
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To: mugs99

I need hard data to back up skepticism, huh?

Interesting.


36 posted on 06/03/2006 1:42:56 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard

LOL!
In other words, all you have to offer is hot air.
.


37 posted on 06/03/2006 1:51:33 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: corkoman
Or do you prefer that noose thing for people who use naughty vegetables?

Instead of projecting radical beliefs on everyone who says something you don't like, maybe you should stick with what was said. Singapore ain't my argument. Don't lump me in with those who have made it theirs.

And I stand by my statement. Switzerland practices junkie-welfare. If it were doing this with anything other than drugs, libertarians would condemn it... if they even cared enough to discuss it (and since it wouldn't involve narcotics, chances are, they wouldn't).

Which is my ultimate point. Libertarians have devolved from an anti-government party to a pro-drug movement.

38 posted on 06/03/2006 1:52:41 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: Know your rights
according to the criminals it enriches and the LEOs and bureacrats it employs.

"Almost all of the major police corruption scandals of the last several decades have had their roots in drug enforcement. We’ve seen robbery, extortion, drug dealing, drug stealing, drug use, false arrests, perjury, throw-down guns, and murder. And these are the good guys?"...Norm Stamper, 28-year police veteran of the San Diego police department and former Seattle police chief.
.
39 posted on 06/03/2006 1:54:57 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: mugs99
Actually, in addition to the hot air, I also have a passing familiarity with The Lancet.

As I said above, their October 2004 survey was the definitive source for the left on Iraqi civilian war casualties. They were also shown to have inflated those statistics by including every civilian death in the country into their casualty figures, regardless of the cause.

The Lancet is also a go-to source for Planned Parenthood and NARAL, mainly in the area of Emgency Contraceptives. The Lancet even went so far as to use its pages to suggest that Andrew von Eschenbach was an unfit FDA director because he was too beholden to Bush and his anti-abortion right-wing base (just the kind of findings you'd expect from a prestigious medical journal).

The Lancet also once announced a "near-unanimous scientific consensus that rising levels of greenhouse gases would cause global warming and other climate changes." Then they wrote a series of articles detailing how global-warming was creating a new generation of disease that would effectively obliterate humanity, thus affirming its existence (thus pinning it on greenhouse gases/mankind). These above-reproach findings were recently optioned by Al Gore, and are now playing at a multiplex near you.

My skepticism of The Lancet and its agenda is very well-founded.

40 posted on 06/03/2006 2:38:07 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: Know your rights
OLD CHINESE SAYING:

THERE IS NO CHOICE BETWEEN STINKING FISH.

.

"Meth is much harder on its users than is heroin "

.


41 posted on 06/03/2006 3:03:57 PM PDT by MrCruncher
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
My skepticism of The Lancet and its agenda is very well-founded.

ROFL!!!
I can't count the number of times pro drug war freepers have quoted the Lancet when they publish a paper supporting the drug war...I find this refreshing!
The Lancet was not the only one to publish this research:
Official Swiss Government Source
42 posted on 06/03/2006 3:22:08 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: mugs99
I can't count the number of times pro drug war freepers have quoted the Lancet when they publish a paper supporting the drug war

Find an instance where I ever have and get back to me.

43 posted on 06/03/2006 3:34:06 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard

No comment on the Official Swiss Government source?


44 posted on 06/03/2006 3:49:42 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: Redmen4ever; martin_fierro
I think martin_fierro was taunting libertarians.

VonMises.org had an email out recently describing how Somalia can function [such as it does] without a true central Government. It is very much a clan or tribal thing. There wasn't that much in the article in terms of making that case that this was a good thing. The email did to some extent explain why the half hearted attempt at humanitarian aid and nation building a la the 1990s was doomed to failure.

BTW as I understand it,the anarchist wing of the small "l" libertarians, really does exist. Rothbard a leading libertarian of the recent past was an advocate of no government. I consider myself to be a libertarian, but Rothbard's belief in the idea of the benefits of anarchy is / was total nonsense.

45 posted on 06/03/2006 4:07:03 PM PDT by R W Reactionairy ("Everyone is entitled to their own opinion ... but not to their own facts" Daniel Patrick Moynihan)
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To: mugs99

Obviously, the findings of a sociologist on the payroll of a parliamentary-socialist government hold more sway with you than I.

Did you want to debate specifics?

If so, the first thing I'd like to know is what method the Swiss used for counting junkies in Zurich in 1996, and what method they use today.

I'd also like to know what method the "regressives" (Britian, Italy, Australia) use to do the same.

We'll go from there.


46 posted on 06/03/2006 4:37:50 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
If so, the first thing I'd like to know

All your questions are answered in the Official Swiss Government Report I gave you the link to. You obviously didn't bother to read it or you would have mentioned the caution they themselves gave about the study.

You waste my time.
.
47 posted on 06/03/2006 5:49:47 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: WhistlingPastTheGraveyard

Nanny-state & libertarian are mutually exclusive. A truly libertarian country would let the junkies kill themselves, which is ok by me, except that they steal & push their junk on kids to pay for their habit.

The Swiss are simply trying something different, that MIGHT work, or MIGHT NOT. We know for sure that the current WOD is a failure - just look around. Drugs are plentiful in the US & Europe.

Perhaps the Swiss have figured out that the crime & drug dealing is WAY worse than giving the junkies their daily fix. Maybe they figure that if the junkies are not buying on the street, the street dealers will dry up for lack of steady customers. The counseling that accompanies the free fix MIGHT convince some of the junkies to quit - their dealer certainly wont.

If someone needed my help, I would give it. If what I was doing was not helping, but was making things worse, I would TRY SOMETHING ELSE. To continue to do the wrong thing is to become part of the problem.


48 posted on 06/03/2006 6:27:29 PM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: martin_fierro
SOMALIA: Libertarian Paradise.

If Somalia was Libertarian they wouldn't be having the problems they're having now.

49 posted on 06/03/2006 6:38:09 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Conservatism is moderate, it is the center, it is the middle of the road)
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To: mugs99
They're counting the number of new junkies based on solely on the number of people who seek government administered substitution treatment, assuming half of all junkies seek treatment within two years of beginning regular heroin use. There's no accounting for junkies who simply don't seek any treatment at all.

The survey never specifies where it obtained its data on Britain, Italy or Australia, nor does it share any specifics. Only that "new" users have increased every year, while in Switzerland they have decreased. Again, they're basing these numbers on junkies who seek substitution treatment (from where, we don't know), assuming the author's two-year rule is a universal truth.

Their own evidence could just as easily be used to suggest that more people seek treatment in countries where heroin is criminalized than in countries where it is decriminalized. That's the thing about statistics. They can be used to show pretty much whatever you want them to show. That's why I don't put a whole lot of stock in these types of studies.

And, for the record, the article you link to isn't a seperate study supporting the findings from The Lancet/Zurich University study. It is a story about The Lancet/Zurich U study. So if I wasted your precious time, we're even.

50 posted on 06/03/2006 6:59:29 PM PDT by WhistlingPastTheGraveyard
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