International Narcotics Control Board zur Schweiz - Jahresbericht 2000
500. In September 2000, for the third time in the last decade, a mission of the Board visited Switzerland at the invitation of the Government. The Board notes with appreciation the willingness of the Government to maintain a business-like dialogue with it on numerous matters related to the implementation of the inter-national drug control treaties. The Swiss authorities have actively supported the worldwide strengthening of control of the international trade in psychotropic substances. Comprehensive precursor control mechan-isms have been introduced and the provisions of article 12 of the 1988 Convention are being effectively implemented. Under the new law against money-laundering, banks have increasingly reported suspicious transactions to the federal authorities and have frozen the assets involved in such transactions. The Board encourages Switzerland to complement the above-mentioned positive steps by accelerating its accession to the 1988 Convention.
501. The Board appreciates the fact that Switzerland has developed in the last decade a comprehensive drug control strategy, supported by considerable financial means. In particular, the Board welcomes the high quality of the primary and secondary prevention activities. All four elements of that strategy, namely prevention, treatment, “harm reduction” and law enforcement, should receive equal attention, and emphasis should not be shifted towards harm reduction.
502. The Board notes the results of the comprehensive drug control strategy of Switzerland. It has been reported, for example, that the incidence of HIV infection and hepatitis infection, overdose mortality and the rate of drug-related crime have been reduced. However, the Board wishes to highlight its understanding that those positive developments are the result of complex measures, supported by a sophisticated social and health-care system and impressive financial resources, and not the result of any isolated element of the drug control policy. The effect of extensive prescribing of various scheduled drugs on the level of drug abuse and trafficking in Switzerland should be carefully evaluated. The Board therefore encourages other countries examining the Swiss experience to consider its complexity, including the extensive social and medical support for drug addicts, based on considerable financial means.
503. The Board notes with concern that the cultivation and sale of cannabis in Switzerland have actually developed into a significant grey area of business. Further liberalization foreseen, such as the decriminalization of cannabis cultivation and trade currently under discussion, would not only be contrary to the provisions of the 1961 Convention, but might also aggravate the problem instead of solving it. The Board is concerned about the possible long-term results of the cannabis policy of Switzerland and the dangers of large-scale smuggling of cannabis products out of Switzerland and “drug tourism”. The Board calls on the Swiss authorities to take the above-mentioned concerns into consideration when deciding on revisions of the Swiss narcotics law of 1951 with regard to cannabis cultivation, purchase, trade and possession.
504. The Board continues to be concerned over the practice not in line with international conventions of establishing drug injection rooms where non-medical use of drugs is taking place. Switzerland is a country with a highly developed social and health-care system and should be able to provide all types of facilities for treatment, instead of establishing drug injection rooms that maintain and facilitate drug abuse under supposedly hygienic conditions.