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Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction


The misuse of medications is very widespread but has rarely been addressed so far. In Switzerland, about 400,000 people take medication with a potential for abuse every day (mainly psychotropic drugs, painkillers and stimulants) and according to estimates, about 60’000 Swiss people are drug-dependent, particularly on benzodiazepines (FOSUMOS, 2013). In Switzerland, about 195’000 people have a problem with sleeping pill and tranquilizer consumption (Suchtmonitoring, 2012). In addition to drug addiction, the autonomous use of drugs in the sense of self-medication and the use of drugs for cognitive performance enhancement or mood enhancement at work or in education are also misused. In Switzerland the use of attention-enhancing drugs mainly affects men under 25 years of age, although a higher prevalence is also recorded in people over 65 (Suchtmonitoring, 2013). The evaluation of recent health insurance data show a significant increase in methylphenidate use in Switzerland (Pletschter & Wieser, 2012). Additionally, in 2011 15% of People taking attention-enhancing medication had no prescription (Suchtmonitoring, 2012), both of which can be interpreted as an indication of the misuse of these drugs in Switzerland. 

When collecting data from various projects (Accompanying Evaluation of In-Patient Addiction Therapy, Evaluation Safer Nightlife Swiss), the ISGF also takes into account, consumption patterns of drugs. In addition, the SUVA study was the first representative study on doping in the workplace and in education in Switzerland, and thus the first to provide figures on the non-medical use of prescription drugs.

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