The Impact of the Swiss Heroin Prescription Program on Delinquent Involvement and Social Situation of the Persons Treated

Denis Ribeaud, University of Lausanne

Facing the growing open hard-drug scenes in the last two decades, Switzerland has implemented a diversified drug policy which included heroin prescription. One of its main goals was to reduce collateral damages of illegal opiate use (i.e., infectious diseases, homelessness, unemployment, acquisitive crime). Overall, the program proved to be very efficient in all target areas. However, to date mechanisms of desistance from crime underlying this process have not been elucidated satisfactorily. Consequently, the aim of the present project is to find out to what extent desistance has been achieved by mere disappearance of acquisitive pressures, by withdrawal from drug scenes, and by a comprehensive lifestyle reorientation. For this purpose self-reports on delinquent involvement will be merged with data on the social situation of the participants (e.g., job and housing situation, contacts with drug scenes). This should allow us to identify causes and correlates of desistance and grant for an improvement of this type of treatment.

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Updated 05/20/2006