Swiss Doctors Urge Government to Permit Cocaine Prescriptions

Physicians in Switzerland are pushing the Federal Health Office to permit cocaine prescriptions for the most addicted individuals, Swiss Info reported June 3.

For 10 years, the country has had a heroin-prescription program for individuals who use the opiate beyond a recreational basis. Daniel Meili, head of Zurich’s heroin program, said individuals with multiple dependencies would benefit from a cocaine-prescription program.

“Of the 150 heroin patients I have here, perhaps a third of them could also benefit from cocaine prescription,” Meili said. “They come here to get the heroin, but they are also addicted to cocaine, which they buy on the illegal market.”

But government health officials are not convinced of the benefits of a cocaine prescription program. “There’s just no evidence that such a scheme would be successful,” said Markus Jann, head of the federal drug addiction department. “We would be very hesitant about trying such a thing, and anyhow we have more important addictions to tackle, such as alcohol or tobacco.”

About 90,000 individuals use cocaine in Switzerland. However, the majority are recreational users and would not be included in the prescription program.