Lichtenstein: New Strategy Paper to Tackle Addiction

The Commission for Addiction Issues has developed a new addiction policy paper for Lichtenstein. The German-speaking microstate situated in the Alps and in the southwest of Central Europe has not seen an update to its alcohol and other drug policies in the last two decades.

The last policy paper in this area was drawn up in 1997. The Commission for Addiction Issues has now developed a new one. Representatives of the school office, the Office for Health, the State Police and the Liechtenstein Medical Association were also involved. The paper is intended to take account of new developments in the field of drugs as well as non-substance-related dependencies.

The foreword to the paper outlines the purpose:

The primary objective was to obtain a policy paper that pragmatically represents the cornerstones of Liechtenstein’s addiction policy.”

Nowadays, society is faced with a sharp rise in psychoactive drugs as well as rapidly changing new psychoactive substances that are obtained via the Internet. Other addiction problems have emerged that can be attributed to excessive use of new digital media or addictive eating behavior. In addition, cannabis use has continued to increase. The call for decriminalization is becoming louder, it says in the policy paper. Now it is up to the state to regularly review the situation in its own country and to adapt the addiction policy to the “new circumstances” – but only in close cooperation with the departments concerned.

Harm to users and harm to others

In the paper, the commission for addiction issues states that substance use problems are associated with high costs not only for those affected, but also for society at large. With regard to the costs in 2018 for inpatient stays in psychiatric institutions and hospitals in connection with substance use, the cause “alcohol consumption” ranks first by far.

53 cases with a total cost of CHF 745,300 were recorded for 2018. The total cost of addiction treatment is more than CHF 1 million.

In the past five years there has been an increase in inpatient treatment due to the consumption of cannabinoids, multiple substance use and substance use without alcohol,” the paper reads.

The measures proposed in the paper relate to the three pillars:

  1. prevention,
  2. therapy and
  3. legal intervention measures, which can also be educational.

These are to be used in the areas of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs with psychoactive effects, illegal drugs, eating disorders, gambling addiction and cross-addiction as well as non-addiction-related aspects. Facts and figures were developed in the paper for each field of action.

This shows, for example, that alcohol in particular poses a considerable risk and that there are 400 alcohol-dependent people in the country. Among other things, an expansion of prevention projects is outlined as possible area of improvements.