striking fall in addicts' crime

preston peet ptpeet at
Mon Jun 9 11:35:44 EDT 2003

    Does this mean that the drugs don't actually cause the crimes, that
addicts are not automatically criminally minded once addicted? Gee, imagine
    How long is it going to take us in the US to get to this point, where
police, politicians and most importantly voters, get the freakin' picture,
that we can reduce the harms, all the harms, that can derive from drug abuse
by taking the same tact as so many in Europe right now, like Switzerland as
noted in this article?

Striking fall in addicts' crime

Nick Davies
Friday May 23, 2003
The Guardian

Switzerland is now leading the way out of prohibition. In 1994, it started
prescribing free heroin to long-term addicts who had failed to respond to
law enforcement or any other treatment. In 1998, a Lausanne criminologist,
Martin Kilias, found that the users' involvement in burglary, mugging and
robbery had fallen by 98%; in shoplifting, theft and handling by 88%; in
selling soft drugs by 70%; in selling hard drugs by 91%. As a group, their
contacts with police had plunged to less than a quarter of the previous
level. The Dutch and the Germans have had similar results with the same
All of them report that, apart from these striking benefits in crime
prevention, the users are also demonstrably healthier (because clean heroin
properly used is a benign drug) and that they are more stable with clear
improvements in housing, employment and relationships.
The Dutch report that only 7.7% of their soft drug users are also using hard
drugs. In Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK for which comparable
figures are available, 46.7% of soft drug users are also hard users. For
those trying to tackle crack, the Swiss heroin programme shows dramatic
falls in the use of all illicit drugs. The Swiss are now even reporting
that, having stabilised their lives, 22% of one group of users have opted to
abstain from all illicit drugs.
By contrast, the US, which has led the prohibition strategy, is stumbling
deeper into failure. President Bush, in his report on drug strategy last
year, was forced to acknowledge that "in recent years we have lost ground"
in reducing illegal use.

There are a lot of other articles by Nick Davies archived here. I highly
recommend the following from 2001: (Armed and dangerous: the police with
their fingers on the trigger -,2763,495226,00.html)

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