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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 146728 Find in a Library
Journal: European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research  Volume:1  Issue:2  Pages:48-60
Author(s): P J Grob
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 13
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: This article examines the creation in Zurich of a tolerated but supervised zone for drug users, its effects on drug availability and cost, numbers of addicts, etc., and the lessons to be learned.
Abstract: In the late 70s, users of heroin and cocaine began to assemble around a riverside location in the center of Zurich. By 1980, concentrations of 100-400 drug users were not uncommon. Police attempted to disperse these groups, but they would simply dissolve and reconstitute somewhere else. The police then decided to designate the Platzspitz, a public recreational park behind Zurich's main train station, as a tolerated but supervised zone for drug users. Within a few months, hundreds of individuals gathered each day in the so-called "needle park;" by 1991, there was a daily average of 1700-2500. In February 1992, the area was closed. This article analyzes five aspects of the Zurich experience: (1) the activities of ZIPP-AIDS (Zurich intervention pilot project against Aids for drug users) within needle park; (2) socioeconomic aspects of drug users; (3) HIV and hepatitis virus infections and their prevention; (4) lessons to be learned; and (5) conclusions to be drawn. One of the favorable results of this experiment was that, while it lasted, maximum preventive, medical, and counseling support services reached the drug addicts. In addition, the public became aware of the scope of the drug problem and that this problem cannot be solved by easy ideologies. However, social and medical institutions need to work with communities and with the drug users. The law and its executive arms, the courts and the police, should realize that their influence is limited and potentially harmful. However, their role in balancing the interests of drug users and those of the population is essential in helping to create a climate in which drug users can be taken care of not only by specialists but by the whole society. Tables
Main Term(s): Controlled Substances
Index Term(s): Drug regulation
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