September 2017 spectra 118 - Addiction prevention – quo vadis?

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At first hand

Editorial. Addiction is a disease (1). But addiction can also lead to marginalisation. Loneliness. Debt. Addiction can lead to loss of work, loss of social contacts – loss of zest for life. There are often deep-seated psychological problems behind addictive behaviour. The new National Strategy on Addiction therefore assumes a comprehensive, biopsychosocial disease model that includes physical, psychological and socioeconomic factors and views addiction not as a condition but rather as a dynamic process. more


The course is set for the new addiction strategy

Addiction policy. Since time immemorial, mankind has consumed psychoactive substances, and what a society considers to be an addiction is continually being renegotiated. Besides substances such as alcohol, tobacco, drugs and medication, there are also new substances such as neuroenhancers, whereas opiates (which had long been prominent in addiction services and policies) have recently become less prominent in Switzerland. In the 1980s and 1990s, answers had to be found to the plight of the open drug scenes. Nowadays, thanks to substituent treatment and harm reduction programmes, the heroin problem has somewhat faded into the background. The massive increase in opioid use in the United States, however, illustrates that ongoing monitoring of such developments remains vital. Besides the lingering problems that occur as a result of high-risk alcohol and tobacco consumption, this also means addressing newer manifestations of dependencies that are unrelated to substances. The National Strategy on Addiction which was launched this year takes on the entire spectrum of dependency and addiction, spanning all types of substances and other kinds of addiction. The strategy views addiction as a comprehensive phenomenon that is affected by interacting biological, psychological and socioeconomic aspects and is also dependent on current consumer trends and cultural behaviours. Together with the NCD Strategy, (1) it replaces the National Prevention Programmes on Alcohol and Tobacco as well as the Package of Drug-Related Measures from 2017 on. more


Stigma – the "second disease"

Mental health. Stigmatisation is a form of social discrimination. For people with mental disorders, but also for their families, it constitutes an additional burden on top of the existing illness. Persons with addictions are particularly at risk of stigmatisation and are marginalised at several levels. more


Improving health and quality of life at every stage of life

Addiction in old age. Older persons are an important target group of the National Strategy on Addiction and the National Strategy for the Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases (NCD). Their relevance is further underscored by demographic ageing: according to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of people over 65 will almost double by 2045. These prospects illustrate the importance of health promotion measures that will contribute towards longer-lasting autonomy and relieve health systems. more