"Despite the availability of a wide range of treatment programs, including methadone substitution, not all drug addicts with serious health and social problems could be motivated to enter treatment. A core group remained, which was characterized by numerous social and physical deficiencies. In an attempt to reach this group, Heroin on prescription was launched in 1994 as part of a nationally-based research project. Admission criteria were a minimum age of 20 years, at least a two-year duration of daily intravenous heroin consumption, a negative outcome of at least two previous treatments, and documented social and health deficits as a consequence of their heroin dependence. The treatment consisted of between one to three injections of heroin a day, and medical, psychiatric, and social monitoring.

"After three years, the results showed, amongst numerous other findings, that:
"• The program is able, to a greater extent than other treatments, to reach its designated target group.
"• The improvements in physical health proved to be stable over the whole period.
"• Illicit heroin and cocaine use regressed rapidly and markedly, whereas benzodiazepine use decreased only slowly and alcohol and cannabis consumption hardly declined at all.
"• The participants' housing situation and fitness for work improved considerably.
"• The income from illegal and semi-illegal activities decreased dramatically (10% as opposed to 69% originally).
"• Both the number of offenders and the number of criminal offenses decreased by about 60% during the first six months of treatment."


van der Linde, Francois. Moving Beyond the 'War on Drugs': The Swiss Drug Policy. James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy. Houston, Texas: Rice University, April 10, 2002.