Source: Survey of German Language Press 
Pubdate: 9 Mar 1999 
Courtesy: Harald Lerch  
Translator: Pat Dolan DRUG SCENE IMPROVED

The 'Frankfurter Rundschau' ( reports on the
positive results obtained in this metropolitan city by making injection
rooms and emergency help available. Junkies can still be seen openly
injecting themselves but there are remarkable differences today from the
1992 scene.

In that year the outskirts of the banking quarter had become not only the
meeting place for addicts and dealers, but was a scene of the most
catastrophic hygienic conditions. The red-green municipal council cleaned
it up by making 4 injection rooms and other emergency help available to
addicts. Since 1993, the town council has sought to make the controlled
distribution of heroin the last corner stone of the emergency aid program.
Wash-rest- and sleeping rooms, and methadone are already available. As a
result, fatalities have decreased and public order is greatly improved.

The secret of the 'Frankfurter Way', which has drawn international
attention, is the mixture of enforcement and assistance, and the long time
cooperation of drug counsellors, police and other interested offices, in
regular meetings to discuss what approaches seems to be working best. The
change in the political power structure has caused no break in the
continuity of the Frankfurt drug policy, which has achieved a broad
cross-party consensus


The Swiss 'Tagblatt' ( under the caption 'Stuff from
the State', reports on the increasing number of cantons registering for the
state controlled distribution of heroin to hard core addicts. The federal
council will publish the relevant ordinance on the 1st of April. 

A quick glance at the way things have gone so far shows that only the
parties of the extreme right have raised any objection in principle to the
expansion of the heroin distribution program which will be the subject of a
referendum on the 13th of June. All other interested parties welcome the
decision or offer constructive amendments.

Most Cantons, parties and associations support not only the distribution of
heroin but also the direction and control of the project by the BAG,
(federal ministry of health).

The Cantons of Aargau and Graubuenden have even announced that they will
introduce the project themselves, while other cantons want to join with
their neighbors' existing institutions. Only Neuenberg, long known for its
restrictive drug policies, is holding back, though not yet rejecting the
proposal completely.  

In general, the cantons in the German speaking areas tend to be very
supportive, whilst those in the Latin areas are inclined to be less so. So
far 1430 of the 3,000 treatment slots have been allotted. According to Dr.
Thomas Zeltner, BAG director, they will all be needed. The fact that not
all have yet been taken should not be interpreted as a lack of interest,
but rather the caution of some cantons expressed in requests for
clarification of certain questions, coupled with late notification of their
needs. That a conservative canton such as Aargau is participating, is
interpreted by the BAG as sending a 'strong signal'.

Financing remains the critical area and will call for firm answers to hard
questions. The sharing of the financial responsibility between federal and
district departments of health and medical insurance has yet to be decided.
The project will cost around 20,000 francs per person per annum. That will
amount to 60 million francs 

The BAG remains hopeful that the project will receive support from the
medical insurance authorities. Equally decisive will be the WHO report on
the Swiss initiative, expected by the end of April. Then will remain only
the referendum scheduled for mid-June.

Also the subject of a detailed report in the 'Neue Zuercher Zeitung'
( "Framework for the distibution of heroin: No objections
in principle to the trial phase"

- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake