As 120 nations support the US action plan to confront drug abuse, a prominent ex-politician explains why Switzerland is not on board.
Ruth Dreifuss, who in 1999 was the first woman to hold the Swiss presidency, is the founder and president of the Global Commission on Drug Policyexternal link. As Dreifuss told Swiss public radio, SRFexternal link, the commission wants “responsible state control, from production to consumption of drugs” but that the opposite is now the case. “It’s an unregulated market the hands of criminal groups.”
However, she is not convinced by the approach of US President Donald Trump, who called for a UN summit on drugs in September. The action plan supported by 120 countries was developed by the US alone, complains Dreifuss.
“President Trump has confirmed that repression should be the guideline,” Dreifuss told SRF, noting that there was no chance for other nations to weigh in on the plan. She suggested that some had gone along with it simply to keep the peace.
Dreifuss also criticized Trump’s drug policy as too black-and-white in its view of drug addicts. “According to this, drug users are bad people who don’t deserve any support. That’s a moralistic attitude,” said Dreifuss, who is calling for reform of the system, and sees progress in her work with the UN.
“When Switzerland introduced certain new treatment methods and harm reduction measures 25 years ago, like clean injection rooms, we were suspected of no longer complying with the conventions,” Dreifuss recalled. She says that today, many European and African countries are interested in these tactics.
Switzerland has a pragmatic, four-pronged approach to drug abuse: prevention, therapy, damage control, and control and repression.