Politician admits taking cocaine

At least six percent of Swedish members of parliament say they have tried illegal drugs, in a survey by women's magazine Plaza Kvinna, with one well-known MP saying he has tried cocaine. Sweden has long had a more restrictive attitude to drugs compared with other European countries.

81 percent of those asked said they had not tried illegal drugs, while seven percent actively refused to answer. Around half of MPs responded to the questionnaire.

Fredrik Federley, a high-profile representative of the Centre Party, admitted to the paper that he had taken cannabis and cocaine in the past.

“It was at two different parties two years ago,” he said, adding that he had first tried cannabis and then cocaine. He said he had done so out of curiosity.

Federley, 28, said he did not regret what he did, but said he would not try drugs again, partly because he was a member of parliament. Speaking later to Svenska Dagbladet he said he admitted to taking drugs because he had been asked a direct question and “I don’t think it’s worth lying.”

Left Party leader Lars Ohly, Social Democrat leader Mona Sahlin and Social Democrat justice spokesman Thomas Bodström all admitted trying cannabis during their youth.

Social Democrat MP Eva-Lena Jansson said she had once smoked hash when she was 15.

“It was stupid, but we often do things that aren’t very clever when we’re teenagers, don’t we,” she said to Plaza Kvinna.

Around ten percent of Swedes aged 16-84 have tried cannabis at least once, according to the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and other Drugs.

Anna Carlstedt, deputy president of IOGT-NTO, which campaigns for restrictive alcohol and drug policies, said she was not too worried by the admissions.

“It shows that politicians are like everyone else. It’s good that they’re honest, in a way.”

“What would be regrettable was if they didn’t distance themselves from their past behaviour,” she said, adding that she didn’t think young people would be encouraged to try drugs following the admissions.

“I think young people are smart enough to decide for themselves, and drug use is falling,” Carlstedt said.

Swedes are traditionally much more censorious about ‘soft’ drug taking than people in other western countries. Tolerance or legalization of cannabis is a subject that few mainstream politicians openly support.

“We don’t have the same view at all of soft drugs as in the United States, for instance,” said Carlstedt.

James Savage/TT