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Swedish MP William Petzäll found dead

Swedish MP William Petzäll found dead

Published: 01 Sep 2012 23:19 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Sep 2012 23:19 GMT+02:00

William Petzäll, an independent Swedish MP who quit the Sweden Democrats last year to focus on his battle with substance abuse, was found dead on Saturday.

Petzäll was found around 4pm on Saturday afternoon on a couch in his mother's apartment in Varberg in western Sweden, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Petzäll's death was confirmed by his parents via the Swedish Drug Users Union (Svenska Brukarföreningen), which also issued a statement on its website.

"A friend is gone. William died today," the organization wrote on its website.

The Riksdag also released a statement announcing Petzäll's passing

According to Aftonbladet, police are carrying out a forensic investigation of the apartment but don't suspect foul play.

While investigators plan to carry out a forensic medical exam to determine the exact cause of death, the Drug Users Union suggested Petzäll died of an overdose.

"We understand that it was drugs, we know the terrible situation in which he found himself. We heard his calls for help," the organization wrote.

Petzäll entered the Riksdag following the 2010 general elections, which resulted in the far-right Sweden Democrats gaining representation in the Swedish parliament for the first time.

Last autumn, he had an acrimonious split with the Sweden Democrats, announcing he was leaving the party to deal with his substance abuse problems, but opted to remain in parliament as an independent.

Less than a month later, Petzäll was involuntarily committed to a substance abuse treatment centre to prevent an overdose.

In May, he was convicted of drugs crimes after testing positive for narcotics-classified substances for which he didn't have a prescription, a ruling he labeled as "idiotic".

"It's ridiculous to punish people who are suffering from addiction," he told The Local at the time.

After breaking with the Sweden Democrats, Petzäll wanted to use his position in politics to focus on drug policy in Sweden and the way drug addicts were treated by the health and criminal justice systems.

"It's horrible that drug addicts are stigmatized in the way they are. You can't stereotype immigrants or homosexuals, but all drug users are lumped together into a group that deserves to be punished with fines or prison," he said.

In June, Petzäll's mother co-wrote an opinion article with the chair of the Swedish Drug Users Union in Aftonbladet in which she criticized how her son had been treated.

"The doctors have said I should be ready for the worst, that the next time he uses could also be his last," she wrote.

"But what makes me frustrated and angry is that there is help that would work for my son in the form of methadone treatment. But he was denied treatment because he hadn't fallen far enough."

News of Petzäll's death also prompted his former Sweden Democrat party colleagues to issue a statement about his passing.

"The news brings great sorrow. We remember William Petzäll as a valued comrade and a rarely-seen political talent. Our thoughts are now with William Petzäll's relatives," party spokesperson Martin Kinnunen said in a statement.

Petzäll was 24-years-old.

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Your comments about this article

02:50 September 2, 2012 by Eric1
Drugs aren't hip or cool. They destroy the user, the users family and friends.
08:19 September 2, 2012 by Tiny Red Ant
That sounds very plausible, death by overdose. Some are luck to break the abuse, but other break the hearts of everyone who really cares about them.
08:46 September 2, 2012 by StockholmSam
How in the world does one compare immigrants and homosexuals to drug addicts? Immigrants and homosexuals are not, by default, involved in illegal activities or a lifestyle that is detrimental to society. Sure, there are individuals that are, but that holds true for all people - rich, poor, white, black, native, immigrant, heterosexual, Christian, Muslim, young, old, etc. Addicts, however, are by default involved in illegal activity that spurs the drug trade and puts strain on taxpayers. They should be incarcerated if only to force them to detox.
09:06 September 2, 2012 by eton75
Good riddance !
09:14 September 2, 2012 by grymagnusson
At least he had the chance to claim penance and reject the message of hatred spread by his former party. He was a troubled lad amongst a party of troubled lads.
09:27 September 2, 2012 by rise
He became a drug addict because he wanted to take drugs. No he's dead. How utterly selfish and cruel of him to dope and die in his mother's couch! But at least now she has no need to worry about him any longer.
11:49 September 2, 2012 by prince T
I sy mpatise with his family. It is pity he went with the wrong crowd, sought fame and fame did him in. I went to the same school with this guy. He had no problems with immigrants in school. His closest friends were infact immigrants. The problem started when he left school. I think hatred, bitterness or somthing weird regarding betrayal killed him. This SD thing turned him into a different human being all together. I could not believe a laid back William could end up with drugs.
12:51 September 2, 2012 by Svensksmith
Anyone can get messed up with drugs, including you and I. It's best never to even try them. It's like playing Russian Roulette with your life.
13:09 September 2, 2012 by truthworthy
Maybe he was overdosed by SD? since they were angry with him after he left the party and refused to vacate the seat.
13:14 September 2, 2012 by EmployedProfessional
Poor william...

see ya,wouldn't wanna be ya!
17:22 September 2, 2012 by Eyeswideopen
That's at least two high-profile drugs-related deaths involving Swedish nationals - eva Rausing who passed away but leaves a Swedish husband living in London in a very sorry drug-dependent state and now this young lad. Two out of several million is microscopic, but if you have benefited from the Swedish dream and that still isn't enough, perhaps it's not all it's claimed to be.
17:33 September 2, 2012 by DAVID T
Where do the drugs come from? No doubt the poppy fields of Stockholm
17:40 September 2, 2012 by philster61
I wonder if the fact that Sweden has a as zero tolerance policy towards drugs factor in this....
19:23 September 2, 2012 by StockholmSam
@DAVID T

They come from the same place that all the drugs all over the world come from. Don't blame the supply, blame the demand. Without demand, there would be no supply.
19:34 September 2, 2012 by J Jack
@ eton 75, shame on you, good riddance to you too and may someone dance on your grave.
19:40 September 2, 2012 by Rod Munch
@Stockholm Sam-

Then I guess we won't be hearing those arguments about how Sweden supplies warlords with weapons anymore. Right?
19:42 September 2, 2012 by DAVID T
@StockholmSam

I always thought the police went for the dealers not the users - go back far enough in the chain and stop it at source - Don't blame the demand - blame the suppliers - dealers in death - kill 1 at source save hundreds of lives - I wonder if you ever have a child who gets hooked on smack you'll still be blaming the users
20:40 September 2, 2012 by prince T
Most the countries in s america where the drugs come from dont have drug issues. They sell them to america and europe to destroy themselves. It is true, if there is no demand there will be no supply. Drugs should not be put in the category of weapons. Ofcourse racist brains are shallow. Drug is a recreational and voluntary, pple involved got in voluntary. Weapons is used to punished innocent pple.
09:37 September 3, 2012 by smilingjack
so drugs are bad eh?

caffeine - the most widely used drug in the world by a longshot.

aspirin

paracetamol

codeine

alcohol

tobacco

cannabis

to those making wild reckless statements about drugs ie 1 and 8 "just say no" maybe you could elaborate?

whats next - banning food to lazy obese people and fining them for being overweight.

or should we ban them all and move one step closer to a brave new world and a daily dose of soma.
18:13 September 3, 2012 by rise
#19

"whats next - banning food to lazy obese people and fining them for being overweight."

You made me think of something:

What is that is injuring your liver like alcohol, is more addictive than cocaine, is giving the same amount of abstinence as heroin, is leading to the same level of binge eating as hash? The answer is: sugar (fructose)! All according to Illustrerad Vetenskap, http://illvet.se/.
23:32 September 4, 2012 by Cornelius Hamelberg
Dayan Ha Emet...

Tragic. A great loss to family, nation and friends....

https://www.google.se/search?hl=en&newwindow=1&client=firefox-a&hs=Rw1&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial&q=needle+of+death&oq=needle+of+death&gs_l=serp.12..0l8j0i5.13963.18592.0.21839.24.14.0.0.0.4.72.691.14.14.0...0.0...1c.mroeP4W4ibw
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