SUPER wealthy Switzerland is considering a groundbreaking proposal to legalise cocaine for recreational use.
In what would be a first-of-its-kind pilot scheme, the Swiss capital Bern is examining the possibility, although it faces opposition from the city government and would require a change in national law.
Bern City Council member Eva Chen has co-sponsored the bill after admitting that ‘the war on drugs has failed’.
“Control and legalisation can do better than mere repression,” she stated, suggesting a more regulated approach could be more effective.
Recent years have seen Europe flooded with cocaine coming in through Spanish – as well as Dutch, Belgian and other – ports, with 2023 set to break records.
Over 11 tonnes were seized in Galicia and Valencia in one just month in Spain alone in the run up to Christmas.
The proposal follows Switzerland’s reevaluation of its blanket ban on recreational drug use.
Some politicians and experts have slammed the current policies in light of the Alpine country’s skyrocketing cocaine use.
Switzerland has one of the highest levels of cocaine use in Europe, with cities like Zurich, Basel, and Geneva ranking in Europe’s top ten for consumption.
The price of cocaine in the country has halved in the last five years, making a line of coke as affordable as a beer, according to Frank Zobel, deputy director at Addiction Switzerland.
The proposed pilot scheme, still in the planning stages, would be scientifically supervised.
It aims to address the potential dangers associated with cocaine, which the Swiss government officially claims can be life-threatening to both first-time and long-term users.
The Bern government has also cautioned about the risks of overdose and individual intolerance even to small amounts.
However, this nannying approach has been met with criticism by experts who argue that people are not interested in such messaging.
Thilo Beck, from the Arud Zentrum for Addiction Medicine, Switzerland’s largest centre for addiction medicine, called for a more ‘grown up’ policy towards cocaine.
“Cocaine isn’t healthy – but the reality is that people use it,” said Beck. “We can’t change that, so we should try to ensure people use it in the safest, least damaging way.”
Bern’s education, social affairs, and sport directorate is preparing a report on the feasibility of the trial. However, its actual implementation remains uncertain.
For the pilot to proceed, the Swiss parliament would need to amend the law banning recreational cocaine use, a process that could take years.
But were it to be implemented, many countries across Europe would be sure to pay close attention.