• 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

"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

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
Swedish teenagers abused on Secret app
File photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix

Swedish teenagers abused on Secret app

Swedish police are struggling to know what to do with a new batch of criminal reports filed by teenagers upset about a controversial app that allows users to post comments and pictures anonymously. READ  

National
Swedish man beats bus in video challenge

Swedish man beats bus in video challenge

UPDATED: A Swedish runner who filmed himself beating his bus in Sundbyberg in north west Stockholm over the weekend is now planning to a similar challenge on the capital's Metro system. READ  

Regional
Rain causes power cuts across east Sweden
Strong winds are battering Stockholm and the east coast of Sweden. Photo: TT

Rain causes power cuts across east Sweden

Heavy rain and wind have left thousands without electricity in eastern Sweden, with ferries also disrupted by the storm. READ  

National
Sweden's benefit agency website down
Sweden's Social Insurance Agency is experiencing problems. Photo: TT

Sweden's benefit agency website down

Sweden's Social Insurance Agency website was out of action on Monday, as officials promised that the technical fault would not delay benefit payments. READ  

Elections 2014
Budget headache for new coalition partners
Social Democrat economic spokesperson Magdalena Andersson with Per Bo from the Green Party. Photo: TT

Budget headache for new coalition partners

UPDATED: The Social Democrats have been holding talks with the Green party to try and agree on a future coalition budget. But questions remain over how they will work together on issues including defence and nuclear power. READ  

National
US runaway banned from name change in Sweden
'Wanted' photograph of David Hemler used by US Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Hemler lives and works in Uppsala. Photo: Shutterstock

US runaway banned from name change in Sweden

A US airman who deserted from the military three decades ago and moved to Sweden has failed in his bid to get his old name back, because a Swedish court says he can’t prove his identity. READ  

My Swedish Career
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Sharleen in action. Photo: Sebastian Bularca

Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars

For this week's My Swedish Career we meet a Canadian who came to Sweden for love and now works in Lidköping, custom-making guitars. READ  

Regional
Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden
Stockholm experienced heavy rain on Sunday. Photo: TT

Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden

After heavy rain broke off the September sunshine in eastern Sweden on Sunday, forecasters warn more bad weather is on the way. READ  

Tech
World car record on Malmö bridge

World car record on Malmö bridge

The longest electric car parade on a bridge between two countries was formed on the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark on Sunday, with environmental campaigners breaking several other world records in the process. READ  

National
Two hurt in Helsingborg ferry crash
The damaged ferry is being inspected on Monday. Photo: TT

Two hurt in Helsingborg ferry crash

UPDATED: A ferry crashed into a pier in the port of Helsingborg in southern Sweden on Sunday night, with two people taken to hospital following the collision. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: September 20th
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Blog updates

22 September

Welcome National Geographic! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What comes to mind when you think of the “The Arctic”? Crystal-encased cliffs jutting from the sea, baronial Polar bears scavenging over sheets of cracked ice or a lone explorer heading north into the night. The image my mind invokes is of three sparkling green lines splashed across the sky like graffiti— the Aurora Borealis— our..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

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 Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

849
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
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN