Newsbrief: Prohibitionist Sweden Sees Drug Deaths Climb 2/13/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


Swedish drug deaths have increased four-fold in the last nine years, the Swedish public television network Sveriges Television(SVT) reported on Wednesday. Citing coroners' figures, SVT put the number of drug overdose deaths at 99 in 1995, compared with 425 in 2002 and 413 last year. The city of Gothenburg was especially hard hit, with drug deaths jumping from one in 1995 to 53 last year.

"This is alarming and probably reflects a big increase of both heroin and mixed drug abuse, especially amongst younger persons, Peter Kranz of the Forensic Medicine Institute told the newspaper Upsala Nya Tidning.

The increase comes despite Sweden's well-deserved reputation as among the hardest of the hard-line when it comes to drug policy. Sweden remains committed to the utopian vision of a drug-free society, a policy most recently reiterated by a 2001 Expert Commission. "Sweden's restrictive policy on drugs must be sustained and reinforced," the commission concluded. "No arguments or facts suggest that lowering a society's guard against drug abuse and drug trafficking do anything to improve matters for individual users or society as a whole."

Hard drug users, of whom there are an estimated 30,000, might argue that not dying of drug overdose does improve matters for individual users. Per Sternbeck of the National Organization for Helping Drug Addicts told SVT deaths are up because the government has turned its back on users. "The reason is because addicts are refused care which is based on real needs and instead given care based on abstract ideas," he said. Many treatment centers are closed because local authorities will not pay for care, he added. "We ask, do you need to die just because you use drugs?"

But Swedish drug enforcement coordinator Bjorn Fries drew a different lesson from the numbers. "The developments show that efforts must be redoubled on a broad front," he said. Still, even Fries conceded that enforcement alone won't solve the problem. "The number of heavy drug abusers has increased and we must improve care for these people," he told SVT.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #324, 2/13/04 Victory for Hemp! Federal Judges Reject DEA Effort to Ban Hemp Foods | DRCNet Interview: Chuck Thomas and Troy Dayton, Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative | Sweet Home Alabama: Marijuana Legalization Advocate Convicted on Pot Charge in Kafkaesque Trial -- Appeal Filed Immediately | Action Alert: HEA Campaign Entering New Stage -- Your Letters and Phone Calls Needed! | Newsbrief: Legalization Talk in Trinidad | Newsbrief: Brit Police Chief Says Legalize Heroin, Irks Other Cops | Newsbrief: Australian Federal Government Issues Threat to Stop New Safe Injection Sites | Newsbrief: Prohibitionist Sweden Sees Drug Deaths Climb | Newsbrief: Philadelphia Drug War Reality Tour Hits the Airwaves, Internet | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: US Senate to Consider Lifting Buprenorphine Restrictions | Ohio Patients Network Art Contest | UCSF Seeking Patients for Medical Marijuana Research | Offer and Appeal: New Ink Stamps and Strobe Lights -- DRCNet Needs Your Support in 2004 | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]