01.09.2010 At first hand
Editorial Andrea Arz de Falco. In discussions of policies on addiction, Switzerland is often praised as a pioneer. However, Swiss policy on addiction is facing new questions and challenges that are not only a result of changing social realities (the 24/7 society, the speed of change in society and the unlimited availability of substances) or of new problems on the practical front (e.g. overlapping of drug and alcohol scenes, polydrug use). Rather, practical experience and scientific findings are nurturing the realisation that appropriate responses to the diverse range of problems associated with addiction can be drawn up more successfully if an integrated approach is used.
A steering group consisting of the president and two delegates of each of the three non-parliamentary commissions – the Federal Commissions for Alcohol Issues, Drug Issues and Tobacco Control – has addressed these questions in depth. On 1 June, the commissions submitted their joint report, «The Challenge of Addiction – Foundations for a Future Oriented Policy on Addiction in Switzerland», to the Federal Office of Public Health. For health-policy reasons, the new policy framework broadens the scope of addiction and proposes a change of strategic direction. It concludes with ten guiding principles for a policy that encompasses all forms of addiction and which are aimed at initiating a debate in society about new approaches to the problem.
Reason enough, then, for this issue of «spectra» to introduce you to the policy framework, the report and the possible early consequences for Swiss addiction policy.
I wish you every enjoyment in reading it.
Andrea Arz de Falco
Head of Public Health Directorate,
Vice-Director, Swiss Federal Office of Public Health