Swiss army recruits to sign "no drugs" declaration

Recruits will be required to sign the declaration from 2003 Keystone

Swiss army recruits will be required from next year to sign a declaration confirming they accept the military's zero tolerance policy against drugs.

This content was published on August 8, 2002 - 22:38

Army chiefs of staff say the declaration - which is due to come into force in January 2003 - is part of a series of tough measures to fight the consumption of drugs within army ranks.

The latest announcement comes three weeks after the Swiss army used the start of its summer recruitment programme to warn conscripts that drug abuse will not be tolerated.

Zero tolerance

Jacques Dousse, head of the country's land forces, called on all military units to support the policy of zero tolerance.

"You must call on all recruits to act responsibly," said Dousse, at a meeting of army chiefs on Thursday.

"In the military environment, we drive tanks and trucks, fly planes and keep guard with live ammunition. The consumption of drugs puts all members of the army in danger," he added.

Stamping out drug consumption

Explaining how the new declaration would work, Dousse said one of its functions would be to try to ensure young recruits do not acquire their first taste for drugs while serving in uniform.

"The army must not become the place where young people have their first experience of [drug] consumption," he said.

The new policy follows revelations of numerous cases of drug use by conscripts during the spring recruitment. Six trainee officers were thrown out of the army after admitting cocaine use.

There were further shock waves when a recent survey found that around 30 per cent of recruits were regular users of soft drugs, including cannabis.

swissinfo with agencies

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