The Local 10 April 2014
Cocaine, ecstasy and even cannabis are rarely seen in streets and clubs in line with Sweden’s official “zero tolerance” approach. The ambitious target is clear.
“The overarching goal: a society free from illegal drugs,” it states.
The country now has some of the continent’s lowest rates of drug consumption among students aged 15 and 16.According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), only nine percent of the Swedish school population had tried cannabis, compared to 39 percent in France, 42 percent in the Czech Republic and around 25 percent in Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands.
A survey by the Swedish Drug Users Union in 2008 showed that a majority of the population supports the strict policy. Every other Swede said that possession or cultivation of cannabis for personal use should be punished with prison, and six in 10 believed that a “total war” on cannabis — which the survey defined as arresting and jailing all dealers and users — was the best tactic.
The latest EMCDDA data shows that the number of Swedish adults between 15 and 64 who had consumed cocaine during the last year was almost five times smaller than the biggest consumer, Spain. For ecstasy, consumption figures in Britain and the Netherlands were 14 times higher than in Sweden.