A recent report by Addiction Suisse says Switzerland has created the ideal environment for the sale and consumption of drugs.
The report points out the easy availability of drugs in Switzerland. It says illegal drugs can be found quickly, easily and cheaply in Swiss cities. In addition, legal drugs are available around the clock in shops, service stations, vending machines, kiosques, casinos and on the internet.
Among illegal drugs, cocaine is the biggest with around 5 tonnes of cut product consumed in Switzerland annually, most of it arriving via traffickers from West Africa. Next is heroin, with around 2 tonnes circulating in Switzerland every year. Sale and distribution of this drug is dominated by groups of Albanian speakers, according to the report.
The cocaine market in Switzerland is estimated to have a value of around CHF 330 million a year, much of it bought and consumed by well-integrated people who almost never buy it in the street.
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Another report, by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, placed Zurich (2nd), St. Gallen (4rd), Geneva (5th), Basel (8th) and Bern (9th) in the top ten european cities for per capita cocaine consumption out of around 60 cities in 2017. Lausanne was not included in the study. The study analyzed drug traces in waste water.
Addiction Suisse’s report puts the annual societal cost of drugs and gambling at around 11,000 lives and 14 billion francs and thinks the government should increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco products. Addiction Suisse says politicians, health officials and other authorities are more interested in ensuring a dynamic market than encouraging sensible drug use. Legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are too easily available and too cheap, according to the organisation.
Nations, like Australia, with high tobacco taxes have far fewer smokers. The current recommended retail price for a pack of 25 cigarettes in Australia is around AUD 27 (CHF 21). In 2015, only 14.9% of Australians over 15 smoked, compared to 23.2% in Switzerland.