The incredible story of Zürich’s journey to harm reduction

Any society refusing to integrate its marginalized members is a looming danger to itself
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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

zurich 1990sIt was in 1992 that the Platzspitz city park – right by Zürich train station and internationally nicknamed “Needle Park” – was cleared out by the police, who had previously tolerated drug use and sales there. This was eventually followed, however, by a far more enlightened policy. Switzerland found itself at a crossroads, and chose to take the path of careful consideration instead of ostracization, incarceration and destruction of fellow human beings. From the mid-1990s, we vastly expanded syringe services and methadone access, and also permitted the limited prescribing of heroin – a policy with many well-studied benefits, which spawned a number of imitators around the world.