It's not often that a headline announcing a "significant price fall" is seen as bad news in Sweden, but readers - most of them, anyway - of Saturday's DN would have been disappointed to see that the product in question was drugs.

Research carried out by the Association for Alcohol and Narcotics Information has revealed that since 1998 the price of various kinds of drugs has, on average, halved.

A gram of hash has fallen from 160 crowns five years ago to around 80 crowns today, while at the other end of the scale the same amount of heroin costs 1,100 crowns – 60% cheaper than in 1998.

“The price fall is an indication that access to drugs is increasing,” said Daniel Svensson, the researcher. “It is a warning sign.”

There are other signs, too, that the number of drug users is shooting up. According to Sydsvenskan, 1,917 new cases of Hepatitis C were reported in Sweden last year – and “almost all of those infected were injecting drug addicts.” This represents an alarming shift since 1990 when the infection was transmitted almost exclusively via blood transfusions.

Epidemiologist Johan Giesecke told the paper that these figures were a better reflection of drug use in Sweden than any figures that the police or social services might have.

“We know that people who inject drugs get infected with Hepatitis C very quickly,” he said. “In fact, there have been studies in Stockholm which show that 90% of people who inject drugs become infected within a year.”

Of those infected last year, 1,292 were men and 625 were women.