Swiss drug policy aims to reduce drug use and its negative consequences for users and society. It is based on the four pillars of prevention, therapy, harm reduction and repression.
The revision of the Narcotics Act (NarcA) in 2008 enshrined the four-pillar drug policy in law. This policy was developed against the background of the heroin epidemic of the 1990-ies.
Expanded definitions of the four-pillar policy
The Federal Commission on Narcotic Drugs expanded the concept of the four pillars to include the dimension of the three use-patterns: low-risk, problematic, and dependent use. In addition, it was also postulated that this model applies to all forms of addiction, not just to illegal drugs.
The National Strategy on Addiction 2017-2024 builds on this «cube model».
On the one hand, this area includes measures for general health promotion that intend to strengthen individual health resources and prevent addiction problems. On the other hand, it subsumes measures for behavioral and situational prevention that concern people's health behavior or that are specifically geared towards issues with addiction which aim at preventing the emergence of risk behavior as far as possible. Early detection facilitates the earlier recognition of behavior could lead to health or social problems or addiction.
Health promotion, prevention and early detection (in french)
Measures in the area of treatment are aimed at people who are addicted and who would like to reduce their consumption, as well as measures aimed at their relatives. Counseling or treatment intends to support people in regaining control over their addiction or even to enable them to make a sustainable exit from addiction. The aim of therapy and counseling is to improve the quality of life and the physical and psychological condition of those affected, as well as their social and professional integration.
Therapy and counseling (in french)
Measures in the area of harm reduction aim to stabilize the state of health of those affected, maintain their social integration or facilitate reintegration, or offer them survival assistance, for example by switching to less risky or less harmful behaviors. The aim of harm reduction is to preserve the quality of life of those affected, so that they can lead a qualitatively good and, as far as possible, self-determined life despite current risky and addictive behavior, and later pave the way for therapy and withdrawal.
The main goal of regulating alcohol, drugs, tobacco, medicines, or gambling is to protect people's health. In the area of legal substances and behaviors, regulation includes government interventions aimed at limiting the accessibility and availability as well as the attractiveness of psychoactive substances or certain behaviors such as gambling (e.g., advertising restrictions, limiting sales hours, age restrictions). Enforcement refers to the implementation of the existing legal framework.
Regulation and enforcement (in french)
Last modification 07.05.2021