When does it stop being a party and start becoming a problem? Is there a way to steer clear of addiction?

Every Wednesday, Mike McGowan explores substance use disorders with expert guests.

Pillars of Success

July 12, 2023 28 minutes


Mike McGowan


Simone Schär

Studied psychologist and head of department at CONTACT Foundation


In the 1980s when drugs were seemingly everywhere and parents couldn’t take their children to parks for fear their children would step on heroin needles, Switzerland decided to try a different approach to their drug problem. Now, forty years later, Simone Schär talks about the country’s collaborative effort and Switzerland’s Four-Pillar Policy. Simone Schär is a studied psychologist and head of department at CONTACT Foundation. To work with people who use or abuse substances was always something, Simone says, that fascinated her. After working seventeen years in the repressive system of the incarcerated (carceral) environment, Simone wanted to see how the totally different approach of harm reduction works. Through the collaboration and cooperation of the public, treatment professionals, law enforcement, and politicians, Swiss crime is down, drug usage is down, drug-related death is down, infectious disease is down, and the parks and streets are relatively free of drug use and drug paraphernalia. Simone can be reached at [email protected], and information about CONTACT can be accessed at https://www.contact-suchthilfe.ch/fr/contact-fondationaideaddiction/ (The website is in French and German.)


Download This Episode

This will start playing the episode in your browser. To download to your computer, right-click this button and select "Save Link" or "Download Link".