Heroin Prescription as a Crime Prevention Measure

Martin Killias, University of Lausanne
Marcelo F. Aebi, University of Sevilla
Denis Ribeaud, University of Lausanne

In the early 1990ies, Switzerland's cities had received world-wide media attention through their "needle-parks". From 1994, police measures against open drug scenes were combined with widespread prescription of heroin (to approximately 800 addicts) and methadone (involving 15,000 addicts, out of an estimated population of 20-30,000 regular heroin users). The program has been evaluated from 1995 to 2001, involving about 1,200 subjects and using police and court records as well as self-report and victimization measures. The results showed a substantial and lasting effect on crime rates, both at the individual and at the macro level.

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Updated 05/20/2006