Source: Survey of German Language Press
Pubdate: 2 Feb 99 
Courtesy: Harald Lerch  
Translator: Pat Dolan


Der Standard (Austria) ( speaks of two new political
parties in Israel. Outside the new movements arising from the classical
political base, there is also the 'Natural Law' party, which will loose a
flood of 'gravitating yogis' to spread harmony through transcendental
meditation. The only goal of the 'Green Leaf' party, on the other hand, is
to achieve recognition of the right of coffee-shops to sell cannabis. 


The Berlin Courier (
speaks in positive terms of the 'last chance' for Berlin's 8,000 junkies:
free heroin distribution to specially selected participants. Federal Health
Minister Fischer sees it as a last hope for hard core heroin addicts who
would otherwise die. Four teams with doctor, nurse, psychologist and social
workers will look after the addicts' needs, supplying them with heroin
twice a day and advice as requested. Cost to the state: round 50 Marks per
person per day. 


The NZZ (Neue Zuercher Zeitung, discusses the ebb and
flow effect of international pressures on the Netherlands because of its
liberal drug policies. Recent CEDRO statistics showing positive results, in
particular regarding the lack of increase in consumption, the disparity in
figures for drug use in hard line countries such as the US, Germany and
Sweden (2 to 3 times the rate for the Netherlands) and the increasing age
of the average Dutch heroin consumer, have done much to encourage its

The government, however, has no intention of riding point, challenging its
neighbors with its progressive policies as it appeared to do in the early
90s. Since 1996, under intense pressure from its neighbors, it has been
adopting a cautious approach, clamping down on coffee shops which
transgress any of the regulations and giving proof of its cooperation with
its neighbors by such compromise measures as reducing the amount of
cannabis which may be sold from 30 to 5 grams and continuing to prosecute
drug dealers with vigor. 

Things have been much quieter lately and the government has no wish to do
anything to rekindle the ill will of its neighbors. The diplomatic approach
can be seen in the recent statements of the health ministry spokesperson
who said that whilst the recent research results were encouraging,
confirming the wisdom of drawing a sharp line between hard and soft drugs,
the news from France and the UK showed that it was possible to achieve them
by a different approach. Nevertheless, account had to be taken of the
better overall health of the Dutch addicts.

The fate of the projected state controlled free heroin distribution is to
be decided by the Dutch parliament this week. In the meantime, the
government is proceeding with its plans for a show-poece trial to prosecute
Desi Bouterse, a high profile politico-drug profiteer from its former
colony Surinam. 


The case of Tom Spencer, the UK Conservative Party EU delegate, found with
cocaine and hash in his diplomatic bag has received some notice. Reports
tend to dwell on the continuing woes of the UK conservative party. Spencer
admitted his stupidity when he was stopped at Heathrow airport with 2 hash
cigarettes, 1 gram of cocaine and pornographic material in his brief-case. 


In the Swiss Tages Anzeiger ( Martin Huber
reports on the continuing discussion over the goal of the methadone
program: should it be absinence or stability? 

Stalwarts such as Rudolf Stohler, leading specialist with the social and
psychiatric services, who heads a methadone service for ambulatory
patients, favors stability as the goal, whilst leaving the door open to
those who choose to enter a detoxification unit when they feel ready for
it. "Pressure simply does not work with addicts," says Stohler. 

Daniel Meili, head doctor of the labor association's clinic for addicts and
director of Zurich's largest methadone program, is equally uncompromising
in his approach. He criticizes the 'morality soaked abstinence' approach
and warns of the dangers of stressing it. The first step must be to
stabilise the patient. This must be the first step. Afterwards all things
are possible but "the treatment, if it is to be effective, must concentrate
on the needs of the individual patient." 
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