Switzerland

Subsections:

Page last updated June 9, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor/Senior Policy Analyst.

1. Prevalence of Heroin and Cocaine Use in Switzerland

"According to what is currently known, there are only a small number of dependent drug users who exclusively consume cocaine; most of those who are dependent on drugs consume heroin first and foremost. However, cocaine is increasingly consumed in addition to heroin.
"On the basis of existing data it can be assumed that the number of heroin dependents dropped from around 30,000 in 1992 to 26,000 in 2002. At the same time, in the last 10 to 15 years the number of deaths related to drug consumption has decreased from what used to be 640 to 740 per year to a current annual figure of 250. However, for several years now the trend has stopped moving downwards."

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, "Switzerland’s National Drugs Policy: The federal government’s third package of measures to reduce drug-related problems (MaPaDro III) 2006?2011," p. 8.
http://drugwarfacts.org/sites/...

2. Prevalence of Drug Use in Switzerland

"The consumption of cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy has increased in the past ten years. At present, around 20% of the population over 15 years of age have consumed cannabis (24% of men and 15% of women). Experience of consumption has also risen in the case of cocaine (from 1.6% to 2.8%) and ecstasy (from 1.0% to 1.8%)."

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, "The Challenge of Addiction - Foundations for a Future Oriented Policy on Addiction in Switzerland" (Berne, Switzerland: SFOPH, May 2010), p. 49.
http://drugwarfacts.org/sites/...

3. Prevalence of Use Among Young People in Switzerland

"Among young people, it is clear that more boys consume cannabis than girls (current consumers number 11.5% and 5.1% respectively). However, here consumption has stabilised and has recently begun to fall among school pupils.56 The number of young men who have experience of hard drugs has increased, whereas the number of young women with such experience has remained stable.57"

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, "The Challenge of Addiction - Foundations for a Future Oriented Policy on Addiction in Switzerland" (Berne, Switzerland: SFOPH, May 2010), p. 49.
http://drugwarfacts.org/sites/...

4. 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. Musto's generational theory regards the decline in incidence more as a social learning effect whereby the next generation will not use heroin because they have seen the former generation go from pleasant early experiences to devastating circumstances for addicts, families, and communities later on."

Nordt, Carlos, and Stohler, Rudolf, "Incidence of Heroin Use in Zurich, Switzerland: A Treatment Case Register Analysis," The Lancet, Vol. 367, June 3, 2006, p. 1833.
http://www.thelancet.com/journ...

5. Prevalence and Trends in Heroin Use in Switzerland

"Heroin has been, at least until very recently, the principal drug problem for Switzerland, as for most Western European nations. In the mid-1990s Switzerland had a heroin addiction prevalence that may have been the highest in Europe. Switzerland’s heroin problem has been declining steadily over the last decade. The estimates of the size of the group are crude but show a reduction from about 29, 000 in 1994 to 23,000 in 2002, the most recent year for which an estimate is available. The aging of the population in treatment is a reassuring indicator that initiation rates have been low since the mid-1990s; whereas in 1994 the median age of those in treatment was 26.5 years, that had risen to 30.5 by 2006. The health of the heroin dependent population has been improving."

Reuter, Peter and Schnoz, Domenic, "Assessing Drug Problems and Policies in Switzerland, 1998-2007," Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (Bern, Switzerland: November 16, 2009), p. 7.
https://www2.pr.gov/agencias/a...

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