Swiss Drug Policy Study Tour

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Swiss Drug Policy Study Tour

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Swiss Drug Policy Study Tour

Zurich, Switzerland

26 – 30 August 2014

Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) Policy Department, through the European Union-funded Asia Action Project, organised a four-day study tour to Zurich, Switzerland beginning 26 August 2014, with the aim of fostering knowledge exchange on Swiss drug policy and best practices.

 

Malaysian delegates who participated in the study tour were:

  1. Dato’ Wan Haji Hamzah Wan Paie, Senior Private Secretary to Deputy Minister of Home Affairs
  2. YB Dr. Noor Azmi Ghazali, Member of Parliament Bagan Serai
  3. Supt. Abdul Samad Salleh, Police Chief Seri Alam, Johor
  4. Aminhayat Abd Rahim, Broadcast Journalist, TV9
  5. Fifa Rahman, Policy Manager, MAC
  6. Sarah Iqbal, Policy Officer, MAC

Delegates visited Arud Centres, Zurich Remand Centre, Security, Intervention and Prevention (SIP) Taskforce, and the Zurich City Police Department.

Arud Centres

Located in Aussersihl and Stampfenbach, Arud Centres are drug treatment and HIV centres. Besides dispensing methadone, they also provide alternative psychosocial care, social and welfare services and counselling for families under one roof. Treatment facilities like these have contributed to the reduction of crime, and an improved quality of life and stability.

Zurich Remand Centre

A visit to Zurich Remand Centre (equivalent to police lockup in Malaysia) provided delegates with the opportunity to appreciate the importance of having healthcare staff in police custody to deliver medical services such as methadone maintenance antiretroviral therapies. The goal is to rehabilitate and reintegrate, and not just punish. Delegates were also briefed on the operations of the remand centre.

SIP Taskforce

The SIP Taskforce consists 70 workers who walk through the city, preventing incidents that affect public order before the police arrive. They are multi-ethnic and multidisciplinary, ensuring that they are able to talk to and handle individuals of from diverse backgrounds. It is a governmental unit under the Social Affairs Department. Workers include social workers, ethnographers and counsellors. They interact daily with people on the street and work to ensure everyone can be safe in public places in Zurich.

Zurich City Police Department

Captain Beat Rhyner, Head Commissioner of Criminal Investigation Division presented on police work in Zurich and their role in drug treatment and harm reduction services. He reminisced of the   growing drug epidemic in 80’s Zurich’s and how the police taskforce responded to it by fully supporting harm reduction. An evidence-informed public health approach as such succeeded at reducing drug-related crimes and eliminating open and public drug injection.