• Sweden edition
 
Green light for needle exchange in Stockholm

Green light for needle exchange in Stockholm

Published: 17 Jul 2012 08:42 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Jul 2012 08:42 GMT+02:00

Swedish health officials have approved a request from Stockholm to launch a needle exchange programme for drug addicts in the Swedish capital.

"In part, it reduces the risk of the spread of blood-borne diseases and in part – and perhaps most importantly – it increases contact with the people affected so they can receive different kinds of support," said Anders Tegnell of Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), the agency which approved the request.

"Other programmes, not least those in Lund and Malmö, have shown that those contacts can help prevent addicts from being hurt unnecessarily."

Last month, the Stockholm County Council (Landstinget) – the body responsible for overseeing the public healthcare system – filed a formal petition with the national health board seeking permission to launch a needle exchange programme.

In the wake of the health board's approval, plans are underway to house the needle exchange programme in a pavilion to be constructed at St. Göran's Hospital on Kungsholmen in central Stockholm.

The pavilion is scheduled to be completed by the autumn, according to County Council member Birgitta Rydberg of the Liberal Party (Folkpartiet).

"It was hard to find a landlord which was ready to house the operation. In the end, it was decided it was better to use space at a hospital on land owned by the County Council," she told the TT news agency.

Berne Stålencrantz, chair of the Swedish Drug Users' Union (Svenska brukarföreningen), expressed his enthusiasm over news that the needle exchange programme was finally moving forward.

"One loses steam after so many years. I've been working on this issue ever since I started the users' union ten years ago," he told TT.

He added that everything must now go according to plan with the needle exchange effort, expressing hopes that neighbours wouldn't complain and that no drug or syringe sales would take place near the facility.

"But we've offered to help and asked for funding to have two people on site. If we're standing there, people wouldn't simply deal right outside in plain sight. We don't want this to go awry," said Stålencrantz.

While Åke Örtqvist of Stockholm's infectious disease division admits there is no scientific way to quantify the medical benefits of needle exchange programmes, he said evidence from programmes elsewhere suggest they do help cut the spread of some diseases.

"Experience in Skåne and Finland indicate that they are a very good way to reduce HIV and Hepatitis B infections, and maybe Hepatitis C," he said to TT.

TT/The Local/dl

twitter.com/thelocalsweden

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

10:18 July 17, 2012 by byke
While I am sympathetic to addiction ... I can't help but see this as a broader way of expecting greater increases in junkies.

These hard based drugs are illegal to begin with ... and now such persons are offered needles to help them? Thats like telling a burglar, its illegal .... but if he says he can't stop doing it, then we provide him with crow bars?

Personally I would like to see a facility built where any person caught under the influence or related to such drugs is held for a 4 week period as a "cold turkey sentence" instead followed by 4 weeks community service. As what we are now doing is rewarding criminal.
10:57 July 17, 2012 by David S
The "harm minimisation" approach has been used in countries like Australia for decades. No such increase in junkies has occurred.
11:55 July 17, 2012 by robban70226
The program is commendable and have its merits, being done in many other countries with positive results. The only problem I see it in Sweden is that unless there is easy access places to go it will not work, work users are not going to spend hours to do there to exchange needles, Make it easily available in Apotek and stop the denial attitude of forbidding access to clean needles
19:53 July 17, 2012 by johan rebel
About time too. Stockholm politicians have been procrastinating for decades on this issue.

Next, they should start giving addicts free heroin under controled conditions.
22:26 July 17, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Here in the States people can take their used needles into the local pharmacy and exchange them for new ones. It is very simple and it keeps the infections/diseases down between the drug users. Anything is better than people Constantly using dirty needles.
22:48 July 17, 2012 by johnny1939
Oh goody I will be first in line when it opens.
Today's headlines
Police seeking missing Swede in London
Sofie Marie Jansson, who is currently missing in London. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Advertisement:
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

771
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com