Sweden’s tough drug laws leave addicts behind

By May 19, 2014 Recent News

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.

Sweden criminalized illicit drug use in 1988, thanks in large part to a two-decade campaign by a group called the Swedish National Association for a Drug-free Society (RNS). It followed a two-year attempt to introduce a more tolerant approach that was considered a failure by authorities.
“The most important link in the chain when it comes to the drug problem is the use of drugs, the demand that comes from the individual user,” said RNS secretary general Per Johansson.

“If you don’t focus on the demand you will never be effective combatting the supply of drugs.”Sweden also puts strong emphasis on prevention, with extensive drug awareness programmes in schools and even preschools.

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.
http://www.thelocal.se/20140410/swedens-strict-anti-drug-laws

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.

http://sjp.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/03/07/1403494814525006.abstract

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