New agency to combat drug and booze abuse

The Swedish government is to create a new organisation for dealing with drug, alcohol and tobacco-related issues. The move is intended to bring focus to the state's investment in preventative measures, which have until now been split between two different agencies.

“While both the Alcohol Committee and Action against Drugs have made great efforts in many ways, it is important that the work is long term and persevering,” minister for public health Maria Larsson told Svenska Dagbladet.

From the beginning of the year, two coordinated functions will be created within government offices. Responsibility for putting agreed plans into action will lie with authorities such as the Swedish National Institute of Public Health and the Board of Health and Welfare.

A new advisory council, including researchers and the heads of the relevant authorities, will also be established.

The government has earmarked an annual budget of almost 260 million kronor up until 2010 for combating drug abuse.