Pubdate: 08 Oct 1998 
Source: Associated Press
Translation: Petter Tiilikainen
Note: Thanks, Petter, for the translation. We receive so little news from
the non-English speaking world that we often do not know of the many
changes in drug policy taking place. - Richard Lake  SWITZERLAND CONTINUES TO HAND OUT HEROIN TO ADDICTS

BERN. Switzerland's legal prescription programme involving handing out
heroin to addicts is being made permanent this weekend. This Thursday the
upper chamber in Bern voted yes to the proposal, 30 for and 4 against.

So far the prescription of legal heroin, morphine and methadone to about
800 drug abusers has been carried out on an experimental basis. Now it is
estimated that the number of drug abusers who will have legal access to the
drugs will increase to at least 2000. Many of them have failed with other
treatment programmes.

The experimental prescription programme has been going on since 1994, and a
study after 3 years concluded that the project radically decreased
criminality, suffering and mortality among the participating drug abusers.
In a referendum in September last year 71% of the Swiss people said yes to
a more liberal approach to narcotics. 
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Checked-by: Richard Lake