Switzerland: Closed: Needle Park

Closed: Needle Park

In an effort to stem the alarming rise in AIDS cases among drug users, Zurich, along with a few other cities in Switzerland, began an experiment three years ago in drug tolerance. Addicts were permitted to sell, buy or use drugs in the city's downtown park, the Platzspitz. Needle Park, as it quickly became known, attracted up to 4,000 drug users a day. Health officials freely distributed clean needles along with counsel on social and medical services.

The program worked: by early this year, the incidence of new AIDS cases had dropped from 50% to 5%. (Overall, 20% of Zurich's addicts...

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