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Mum slams minister over Swedish MP's drug death

Mum slams minister over Swedish MP's drug death

Published: 10 Sep 2012 08:55 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Sep 2012 08:55 GMT+02:00

The mother of late Swedish MP William Petzäll, who died last week after a long battle with drug addiction, blasted what she saw as government foot-dragging on efforts to better Sweden's drug addiction treatment policies.

"I don't understand what's taking so long. Maria Larsson has to realize she needs to hurry. Losing a child is the worst thing that can happen," Petzäll's mother Annika told the Expressen newspaper.

The comments came following a televised debate on Sverges Television (SVT) on Sunday night including Maria Larsson, Sweden's Minister for Children and the Elderly who handles the public health portfolio, and opposition MP Hillevi Larsson of the Social Democrats.

Following the death of Petzäll, 24, a debate has heated up in Sweden over how the country should deal with drug addicts.

Critics, including Petzäll, argue that Sweden's current policies are overly moralizing and treat addicts like criminals, often with fatal results.

According to SVT, there were 487 drug-related deaths in Sweden last year, the highest figure ever recorded.

Social Democrat MP Hillevi Larsson argued that methadone treatment in Sweden should be expanded.

"There is a lot of research that shows methadone saves lives, yet we limit access," she said.

"The queues take years and people are dropping like flies."

She added that there are many cases where addicts are thrown out of treatment programmes for relapses, despite a lack of research supporting such actions.

"Mortality goes up twenty-fold for those who are thrown out," Hillevi Larsson said on SVT.

Minister Maria Larson of the Christian Democrats admitted there were deficiencies in Sweden's drug addiction treatment system and that queues were too long.

"Addiction and dependency treatment has been made a lower priority by many county councils. What's important to point out is that there is insufficient access to methadone in the country," Maria Larsson told SVT.

"It's not acceptable that we can't meet the need."

However, when asked whether she would see to it to increase access to methadone treatment promgrammes, the minister responded that the government has already engaged in a nationwide awareness effort and created an watchdog body in order to see exactly what the situation is in different counties and municipalities.

Discussion also turned to a government inquiry on the matter, ordered by Maria Larsson and completed 18 months ago, which found that Sweden had failed in its aim to provide addicts treatment.

Larsson explained that nothing has happened in part because comments on the inquiry have been so varied.

"All 25 comments have different opinions," she said, adding that the government promised to act on the inquiry before next summer.

However, the minister's response didn't sit well with Social Democrat MP Hillevi Larsson, who demanded the government "do something" with the inquiry.

And the mother of the late MP Petzäll, also took the government and Maria Larsson to task for being slow to come up with new legislation based on the inquiry.

"This inquiry has been sitting there finished for a long time," Annika Petzäll told Expressen.

"[Maria Larsson] is going to have more lives on her conscience the longer she waits."

Petzäll believes her son would still be alive if he had been able to received treatment in another part of the country.

"I think Maria Larsson could at least promise to offer addicts treatment in other counties if their own are incompetent," Petzäll told the paper.

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Your comments about this article

11:17 September 10, 2012 by olga118
So they treat the addicts like criminals and they treat the criminals like guests. Interesting.
11:45 September 10, 2012 by riose
To put this into contex, this guy was a member of SD, entered Riksdag at 22, was caught several times displaying radical behavior, confronted the police and was convicted for having illegal drugs.
12:49 September 10, 2012 by whoye
what can possibly recovered heroin addict might do that would benefit the society? i'm not bashing all of them but chances are that this guy would rob you in the broad daylight just for getting his dope
14:35 September 10, 2012 by Uncle
What this mother should be doing is hanging herself for providing her son with totally incorrect tools for making choices in life.

This was her ONLY responsibility in life as a parent and she obviously cannot call it a success. Instead of whining and ¤%itching on TV about the government, she should simply go and buy a good rope with quality soap.
16:54 September 10, 2012 by cattie
@Uncle

A many words come to mind in description of you post.

Ignorant is probably most accurate.
18:15 September 10, 2012 by Rishonim
@Uncle, that's rather harsh thing to write about the poor grieving mum. I guess you neither have a mum or kids so you wouldn't understand her pain.

@olga, yes indeed. The easiest way to lose friends in Sweden is to tell them you have smoked some grass. Therefore I can understand how a generation of people can ostracize someone who has a drug problem. The Swedish establishment has succeeded in brain washing its citizen in believing that people with drug addiction are the skum of the earth and they deserve what they get.
19:03 September 10, 2012 by Iraniboy
Drug addicts usually belong two different groups in developed countries. The first group is one who lacks self-esteem, fun or information with usually low understanding capabilities. It is up to the society and also the family and friends to guide these people and save them from addition. The other group are more intelligent people who choose this path since they think this is the way they want to spend their short life. As a matter of fact, a parliamentary member cannot belong to the first group and reach such a high political standing. So she should realize that her criticisms although valid in general doesn't apply to his son.
20:30 September 10, 2012 by olga118
If guidance and love could keep people from becoming addicted that would be wonderful, unfortunately it isn't proven by medical science. People who are dealing with addiction issues need medical and psychological treatment to overcome their addiction. Individuals AND society benefit from addiction treatment.
22:59 September 10, 2012 by Uncle
cattie

Mmm. I LOVE a good argument. Yours was the best so far.

Rishonim

Lets start that you know jack about me and there is a small chance you will. Let us also say, that mujahadeen also have grieving mums and the fact that they are GRIEVING does not make them a parental success... however your moral standard surely applies for them also?

Now, if you would actually argumentative, you would see that this wonderful pride of his mommy was caught on tape singing neo-nazi songs once and as much a I sympathize with SD politics NOW, one cannot deny some sort of parental gaps in education.

Then this success of a guy was arrested for PUBLIC intoxication as a politician and immediately got into drug rehab (which was not enough according to his wonderful ascendant).

It took him 3 months to stay away from drugs. Talk about good family support.

He was found dead from overdose in his MOTHER'S house. Talk about firm and attentive parent helping a child in need and accompanying him in his difficult times (given that the financial situation could allow it in this case).

Now, there is no denial that environment can impact decision-making. However even in the ghetto (way far away from this guy's parents villa) there are kids who say no to drugs. THIS is the impact of correct education.

What is mostly irritating, is that after it is clear that the guy had issues and did not get nearly enough effort from his family, she has the guts to come out publicly and blame OTHERS in her son's overdose.

EVERYTHING can be hanged on society. Rape, murder, paedophilia, exploding in crowd of small children, drug selling and slave trading. Even Freud insisted that most of our actions and choices are originated from home and mainly due to the influence of MOTHERS.
23:44 September 10, 2012 by DAVID T
@Uncle

You have mother issues - did mommy not treat you right?
08:14 September 11, 2012 by jeffi_in_denmark
Righto: I am a mother. Of many. All grown, healthy, productive adults. Now that this is taken care of...

Uncle, I think I know who you are :-) And I think we go back a long long way.

I also think you are mostly right. What amazes me the most is that this 22 year old unemployed, no life experience, former drug addict actually got elected to national office. Is that correct?

I'm sorry he died of an overdose. I'm sorry his mother has to go through this. But drug addicts engage in criminal activity. At one point, most of them had a choice in their lifestyle options. Some do not, but this acticle is not about them.

Does society have an obligation to rehabilitate deliberate criminals? No, not really. Is it tragic to lose someone who could have been a productive member of society? Yes, it is. Folks, not every soul can be saved. That is the harsh reality of life. It is saddening, yes yes it is, but one cannot look to government to take care of one cradle to grave. Gotta grow up some time.

And yes, I do come from a socialist country, with a decent welfare state arrangement, originally :-)
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