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Addict's death leads to fines for civil servant

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15:38 CET+01:00
A manager within Gothenburg social services has been convicted for refusing to allow a 24-year-old drug addict into institutional care. The addict later died from an overdose.

Two social service employees in the city's Örgryte district, a 47-year-old manager and a 49-year-old social welfare secretary, had been charged with professional misconduct in connection with the incident.

Tommy Nilsson died on December 3rd, 2004 while on a respirator at Gothenburg's Östra Hospital following an overdose.

He had been addicted to drugs for several years, with his early abuse of GHB going undetected by his parents.

But when the Nilsson moved out of his parents' house he began to experiment with stronger drugs like heroine and methadone.

Nilsson's addiction became worse and worse, resulting in visits to several treatment centres and eventual placement in a halfway house from where the 24-year-old was able to discharge himself.

As Nilsson suffered through a number of overdoses, his parents tried in vain to have their son admitted into mandatory institutional care in accordance with Sweden's Care of Alcoholics, Drug Abusers and Abusers of Volatile Solvents Act (Lagen om vård åt missbrukare – LVM).

They eventually reported the case to the county administrative board (länsstyrelsen), which found the handling of the case by social services to be “characterized by appreciable shortcomings” and that authorities didn't react “in accordance with LVM's requirements and intentions”.

Four years after the Nilsson's fatal overdose, and after his parents reported the slow pace of the ensuing police investigation to Sweden's Parliamentary Ombudsmen (Justitieombudsmännen – JO), the two social service workers were eventually charged for their failure to properly handle the case.

Both denied any wrongdoing, but on Tuesday, the Gothenburg District Court found the 47-year-old guilty of professional misconduct and fined him the equivalent of 80 days' pay.

The 49-year-old also charged in the case was acquitted of all charges.

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