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Voters Endorse Heroin Maintenance Program


January 1997

On December 2, 1996 in Zurich, Switzerland, voters overwhelmingly endorsed a pilot program that gives heroin to hard-core addicts. The program supplies heroin to 100 addicts in Zurich, Switzerland's largest city. The $4.7 million government program had been challenged by the conservative Swiss People's Party who argued that it encouraged drug use. Proponents contend that the program has reduced crime and poverty among addicts, helping them integrate into society. Voters approved continuing the program through 1998 by a vote of 63% to 37% ("Heroin giveaway Ok'd," Kansas City Star, December 2, 1996, p. A7; Associated Press, "Zurich Voters Approve Giving Heroin to Addicts," New York Times, December 3, 1996, p. A10).