'The war on drugs has failed': Switzerland considers legalising cocaine

20 December 2023, 21:14 | Updated: 20 December 2023, 22:49

'The war on drugs has failed,' a Bern council member declared
'The war on drugs has failed,' a Bern council member declared. Picture: Getty

By Christian Oliver

Switzerland is considering legalising the sale of cocaine for recreational use within its capital.

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In what is believed to be a world-first approach, the pilot scheme is aimed as a radical approach to tackle the 'war on drugs'.

The Parliament in Bern has already approved the proposal, which still needs to overcome opposition from the city's government.

The national government will also need to adapt laws for the scheme to go ahead.

Bern, Switzerland
Bern, Switzerland. Picture: Alamy

It comes after experts criticised past measures to clamp down on the sale of illegal drugs, deeming them ineffective.

Switzerland has one of the highest rates of cocaine use in Europe, according to tests. Prices for the drug in Switzerland have also halved over the past five years.

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Metabolites measured in waste water in Zurich, Basel, and Geneva place each of the cities in the top 10 for cocaine use across the continent. Bern, Switzerland's fifth-most populous city, has also showed significant increased usage.

"The war on drugs has failed, and we have to look at new ideas," Eva Chen, a member of the Bern council from the Alternative Left Party who co-sponsored the proposal, told Reuters news agency.

"Control and legalisation can do better than mere repression."

It comes as the country is already in the process of considering the legal sale of cannabis.

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