Inside Switzerland’s Radical Drug Policy Innovation

A look at how Switzerland radically and successfully changed its approach to drug policy following a heroin epidemic in the late 1980s and 90s, and what the effort teaches us about the social innovation process.

In 1961, the United Nations adopted the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a treaty aimed at combatting drug abuse through coordinated international action. The accord seeks to prohibit the use, trade, and production of certain drugs except for medical and scientific purposes, and to combat drug trafficking. Yet despite efforts like this, failed interventions and policies, as well as human rights violations related to drug use, have continued to stand in the way of progress at the local, national, and global levels. We have much more to do to confront the many harms that drugs inflict on health, development, peace, and security, in all regions of the world.

Learn more at the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Kate McCartyhealth, global