Swiss Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Heroin Maintenance and Other Liberal Drug Policies 9/28/97

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Swiss voters overwhelming voted to continue the controlled distribution of heroin to addicts, as well as methadone maintenance programs and counseling. Nearly 71 percent of voters rejected "Youth Without Drugs," a referendum sponsored by conservative groups who had gathered 100,000 signatures to force a vote. Health Ministry director Thomas Zeltner announced that the ministry would propose legislative changes to give heroin maintenance permanent legal status.

A recent three-year study showed substantial success in reducing crime and improving health, housing and employment among the 1,100 addicts involved in the pilot program. Proponents of heroin maintenance credit the heroin maintenance program and other government policies for reducing drug-related deaths from 399 in 1994 to 312 last year.

In the U.S., government officials would have campaigned on behalf of the "Youth Without Drugs" initiative. In Switzerland, the federal government and most of the parliament opposed it, calling it a public health disaster. While city voters showed the most support for heroin maintenance, a majority of rural voters rejected "Youth Without Drugs" as well.

The Swiss government's report on their heroin maintenance trial can be found on The Lindesmith Center's web site at http://www.lindesmith.org/presumm.html.

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Issue #13, 9/28/97 Campaign '97 Update | 9 Year-Old Busted on Candy Rap | Another French Official Speaks Out for Legalization of Cannabis | Mexican Priest Praises Drug Traffickers' Benevolence... Journalists Attacked by Archbishop's Aides for Asking Questions about the Incident | Baltimore Health Commissioner Testifies on Needle Exchange | Spy vs. Spy | Cia Turns 50 | Freudian Slip | Mexican Journalists Terrorized | Former Pakistani Prime Minister's Accounts Alleged to Contain "Drug Money" | Swiss Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Heroin Maintenance and Other Liberal Drug Policies | Dutch Heroin Maintenance to go Ahead as "Pilot Project" | Canada's Medical Marijuana Prohibition Challenged by Multiple Sclerosis Patient | Reformers Charge Washington State Government with Using Federal Funds to Politic Against Drug Reform Initiative | Black Market Meth Labs Kill One Child, Force Evacuation of 30 Families | Shalala Continues to be Dogged by Needle Exchange Questions | Editorial: World Gone Mad
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