Methamphetamine increasingly common in Sweden

Methamphetamine appears to be growing in popularity in Sweden, as both smuggling and reports of abuse of the drug have increased in recent years.

So far this year, more than 80 kilogrammes of methamphetamine have been seized at Swedish borders, compared with 55 kilogrammes for all of 2008, reports the Metro newspaper.

“Unfortunately, this is a substance which has gained a foothold in Sweden,” said Lars Hansson, a narcotics specialist with the Swedish Customs Agency (Tullverket), to the newspaper.

Most of the confiscated drug came from two major seizures, of 31 and 30 kilogrammes, respectively. The drug often finds its way to Sweden via Estonia or Lithuania, according to Metro.

According to statistics from the National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket), methamphetamine use is also increasing among Swedes.

During 2007, 1,483 people apprehended for drug offences were under the influence of the drug. But between January and May of 2008 alone, more than 1,635 drug suspects were found to have taken methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine is a psychostimulant similar to amphetamine, but is more powerful and more addictive. It also carries a high risk for causing neurological damage.

Users of the drug in Sweden range from addicts to teenagers who don’t normally use drugs, according to a survey of the Sweden’s different county police departments by Hansson.

“Many get hooked on the drug quickly spiral downwards from there,” he told Metro.