In Switzerland in 2022, 2.1% of the population had taken sleeping pills and tranquillisers almost daily in the previous 30 days and 0.9% strong painkillers.

This indicator is part of the Monitoring System Addiction and NCD (MonAM) of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

The trend in medication misuse and dependency has been observed in Switzerland for some time. Taking painkillers, sleeping tablets or tranquillisers on an almost daily basis is regarded as problematic. Misuse of medication is when medication is taken without any clear medical indication or in unnecessary quantities. In practice, the following groups of medication are largely concerned: Strong painkillers, sleeping tablets and tranquillisers as well as stimulants and appetite suppressants.

The indicator shows the trend over time and the prevalence of chronic medication consumption in the total population. This information can facilitate the planning and assessment of prevention and regulation measures.


This indicator shows the proportion of the population aged 15 and over that had taken strong painkillers, sleeping pills or tranquillisers almost every day (on at least 20 days) in the previous 30 days.

Addiction Switzerland collected these data on behalf of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) between 2011 and 2016 as part of a telephone survey (CoRoIAR) of around 11 000 people. Since 2018, these questions have been asked in a comparable way in the «Health and Lifestyle» omnibus survey, an online questionnaire by the FOPH and FSO (n2018 ≈ 5600; n2022 ≈ 5400).

In 2022, the following three questions were asked (if the answer is yes, the next question will be asked):

Sleeping tablets and tranquillisers:

  • Question 1: «Have you taken any sleeping pills or tranquillisers in the last 12 months? e.g., Valium, Ativan, Xanax, Temesta»
  • Question 2: «Have you taken any sleeping pills or tranquillisers in the last 30 days? »
  • Question 3: «On how many days have you taken sleeping pills or tranquillisers in the last 30 days? »


  • Question 1: «Have you taken strong painkillers in the last 12 months, e.g., Oxycodone®, Morphine®, Fentanyl® (not common painkillers for headaches like aspirin or paracetamol)? »
  • Question 2: «Have you taken these strong painkillers in the last 30 days? »
  • Question 3: «On how many days in the last 30 days have you taken these strong painkillers?»

The shares shown in the indicator refer to persons who answered the last question with «on 20 days or more».

Time series break between 2016 and 2018: the «Health and Lifestyle» omnibus survey is an online questionnaire and CoRoIAR is a telephone interview. In addition, the question wording changed slightly.

Time series break between 2018 and 2022: examples of sleeping pills and tranquillisers were given in the 2022 survey, but not in 2018. In addition, the question wording changed slightly. In 2011-2016, when asked about painkillers, the indication was given that no questions were asked about common headache medicines such as aspirin and paracetamol (without further examples).

No data on the use of painkillers can be shown for 2018.


Further information

  • Addiction in Switzerland: Website (in German. French, and Italian)
  • Entwicklung der Verschreibung von Schmerz- und Schlafmedikamenten in der Schweiz (2021). Federal statistical office (FSO), Berne: Factsheet (in German, French, and Italian).
  • Gmel, G. et al. (2018). Suchtmonitoring Schweiz - Einnahme von psychoaktiven Medikamenten in der Schweiz im Jahr 2016. Addiction in Switzerland, Lausanne: Report (in German, summary in French)
  • Kraft, E. et al. (2019). Auslegeordnung zum problematischen Gebrauch psychoaktiver Medikamente. Bericht im Auftrag des Bundesamts für Gesundheit (BAG). Ecoplan, Berne: Report (in German)..

Media enquiries

Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Tel. +41 58 462 95 05

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