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Drug use Cocaine use 'commonplace' in Switzerland: prosecutor

Nicolas Feuz, at left, speaks at a news conference in a criminal case


Switzerland’s drug markets are surging with the use of cocaine much like how marijuana was used in years past, the prosecutor for the canton of Neuchâtel says.

"Cocaine has invaded our streets, it affects all sectors and its consumption is becoming commonplace, like marijuana was 15 years ago. This is worrying,” Nicolas Feuz told Swiss public radio RTSexternal link on Monday (in French).

Feuz said the four pillars of Switzerland’s drug policyexternal link – prevention, therapy, reducing harm and repression – are still working.

But after working to stop drug trafficking for the past decade and a half, he said the problem remains “a bottomless pit”.

That’s why he’s a proponent of decriminalising consumption of drugs, not their distribution. "There are benefits from decriminalising the consumption of all drugs, provided there is a drastic effort to strengthen prevention (of using them),” he said.

Fiction and real life

Feuz, who also is passionate about writing detective novels, has been working on various committees aimed at easing penalties for drug use – an approach gaining adherents elsewhere in Europe.

But the task is difficult, particularly given the differences with France which he says "treats cannabis as if we are dealing with hard drugs". It’s a question of supply and demand, he summed up.

"As long as there's demand, there will be supply," said Feuz. “It’s necessary to ensure that the drug is no longer ‘in’.”

Feuz, who has worked as a lawyer and judge, began writing crime novels in 2010. He is the author of what Swiss media called "The Masai trilogy", about a young police inspector who leaves the shores of Lake Neuchâtel to investigate a series of murders in Kenya. His sixth novel came out last autumn.

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