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Drug abuse on the rise in Sweden

TT/The Local · 26 Aug 2010, 09:18

Published: 26 Aug 2010 09:18 GMT+02:00

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"Help and care reaches only one in five abusers," wrote Gerhard Larsson, who is leading a government inquiry into the issue, in an opinion article in Dagens Nyheter on Thursday.

Alcohol is identified as the "big problem" with fresh figures indicating that 330,000 people in Sweden suffer from alcohol dependency.

"There is a tendency to treat, for example alcohol dependency, as an individual and social problem - not as a sickness which requires treatment," Larsson wrote, arguing that more resources need to be applied to provide professional help.

Furthermore the report shows that 65,000 people abuse prescription drugs while 80,000 are "risk consumers" of illegal drugs, with a further 29,500 suffering from serious abuse.

Larsson writes that the hidden statistics behind drug and alcohol abuse are considerable with only 100,000 of the total 500,000 abusers known to the healthcare services.

The report confirms however that Swedish alcohol consumption, measured in litres of alcohol per annum, is comparatively low in European terms although has increased steadily over the past 15 years.

While Larsson lent support to Sweden's preventative alcohol policies such as high taxes and attempts to limit supply by retaining an alcohol retail monopoly, he argued that treatment of those suffering drug and alcohol abuse needs to be given a higher priority.

"We can no longer ignore the fact that many have developed abuse and dependency situations that require treatment," he wrote.

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Swedish legislation and the organisation of healthcare resources to deal with substance abuse must be comprehensively reviewed, Gerhard Larsson argued.

The report and proposals for addressing the situation will be presented to the government before the end of the year.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:17 August 26, 2010 by Burritos
I wonder what the statistics would indicate if marijuana was legal, as it should be?
10:41 August 26, 2010 by mojofat
Sales of Pink Floyd and Bob Marley, up. Violence, down. ;-)
10:41 August 26, 2010 by isenhand
not unexpected, we should also see crime going up, poverty and homelessness as Sweden desperately attempt to emulate the US.
10:45 August 26, 2010 by Burritos
It was only a matter of time before the USA got the blame for Sweden's problems. lol. Get a grip.
12:12 August 26, 2010 by flintis
The USA is responsible for most of today's problems, all that sh?t on telly & those gas guzzling wrecks the Swedes seem to be fond of, crap burgers (McCrap etc)

Let the abusers stew, put the watsed finances to good use curing cancer, parkinsons etc etc. As for the drug producing areas stop pussy footing around & NUKE'EM!!
12:57 August 26, 2010 by calebian22
I guess personal responsibility would be out of the question, when it is easier to blame the US for Sweden's problems. What a joke.
13:08 August 26, 2010 by eZee.se
Come one, even for those of you who enjoy an evening game of "bashing the US" with your friends and family this is a little far fetched.
14:55 August 26, 2010 by Bostonexpat
@flintis ...are you a drug/alcohol abuser yourself? Your comments just made me want to ask...
15:05 August 26, 2010 by flintis
@ eZee.se: what's far fetched!! the money wasted on the druggies that could be better spent curing disease, or winding up the Yanks ;-)) the latter being fun.

Can't blame the US for all the coke coming out of South & Central America, Afghanistan etc can we, would have nothing to do with US foreign politics past & present. Although we have to blame the Turks (Byzantines) for introducing the stuff.
16:24 August 26, 2010 by miss79
well i taught sweden wants to be like US..
20:58 August 26, 2010 by comfortably_numb
As the welfare state crumbles with the direction Swedish politics is heading, family abuse due to lack of resources and state aid will increase, and hence more drug and alcohol abuse. Yes, individual responsibility plays a role as well, but this type of trend is predominant in polar rather than equal societies.
00:17 August 27, 2010 by Luke35711
Pathetic. To blame the US for Swedish alcoholism is nothing short of desperate and pathetic.
07:41 August 27, 2010 by flintis
@Bostonexpat: can't say I've never tried a bit of hash & I like a drink, but abuser no.

My 19yr old nephew overdosed on the sh?t a couple of years ago & I've seen quite a bit of misery in my time because of heroin, cocaine, LSD, meths etc. Getting rid of the drugs would be a starting point, some people are just susceptible & will always find some substance to abuse.
07:50 August 27, 2010 by RobinHood
Different people fall into drug and alcohol escapism for different reasons. Most are unable to cope with what they see as the "stress" in their lives, be it too little of something, or too much. Living in a US style consumer society is as stressfull to some/all, as living in a totalitarian Stalinist state. For others, the middle way is equally difficult.

Whilst there is a means of escape through drugs and alcohol, some will want to take that path, no matter what type of society they live in. That is one of the innevitible consequences of being a human being.

Way too little has been done to address why particular individuals want to escape their society, and to help them to come to terms with the lives they have, instead of creating their own drug fuelled fantasy island. 60 years of ever increasing supply and demand has shown current methods of drug prevention have failed; and even stimulated the market. It's way past time to address the growing drug problem here with the end users, rather than in the poppy fields of Afghanistan.

If there is no demand, there will be no supply.
08:17 August 27, 2010 by ubpurple05
Wait, let me get this straight, it is the fault of the U.S. that some people in Sweden use drugs and drink too much? That is beyond ludicrous. I remember reading that drinking in Sweden has been a problem for decades, so bad there was a temperance movement at one time, etc. ~ this was LONG before the heinous influences of American TV and the internet. I just marvel that no matter what the negative topic is, it is the U.S. that is blamed. You know, if the U.S. sucks so bad, don't watch the shows, read the books or consume the entertainment that comes out of the U.S, but bear in mind that entertainment is fantasy, right??? no matter where it comes from. And furthermore, this American in Sweden has never once eaten in the McDonalds that are around (made me sick to see them here when I arrived!) ~ but these are all over the globe now, along with Subways, Burger King, etc. etc. Best way to get rid of them, don't eat there.

@ Robin Hood, agreed, it is a market that is being serviced, if there is market for something, people will find a way. Its all about money.
09:17 August 27, 2010 by Kevin Harris
I'm afraid the US has to accept its fair share of the blame for the growth of drug abuse in the west, but by no means all of it. Hollywood and rap have celebrated and glamorised drug use for decades. Tony Montana, Crocket, Tubbs and hundreds of US created fictional characters have done for the drug industry what Pretty Woman did for the sex industry.

Of course we lapped it up. We rejoiced as Tony invited us to "Say hello to [his] little friend". No one pointed out Tony's creators were as disgusting as he was. Some of us still can't even see how repulsive Tony was and have pictures of him on our T shirts.

Dominant US culture bought respectability to something that deserves no respect, and until that is recognised, by Americans, nothing will be done to change it, the next Tony Montana will burst out of Hollywood, and the cycle will continue and accelerate instead of reverse.

Furthermore, US drug policy has for decades focused on interception, instead of education, prevention and treatment. Again the rest of the world has followed our "leader", as we were encouraged to do, assuming the policy to be the right one. It wasn't.

Until "our leader", gets its house in order, or we reject "our leader's" culture, we are stuck with what we have.

This is by no means an anti-US culture rant, there are way too many of those here. Just a call for the US to face up to its share of the blame and do something about it.
11:55 August 27, 2010 by ubpurple05
I thought that the message in Scarface was not that the drug trade was glamorous, it is slimey and deadly, right? But that aside, I think the article was about drug and alcohol use in Sweden, right? Things are def decidedly bad in the U.S. and the drug policy laughable ~ too many people, including the govt, make money off the "War on Drugs", which by the way includes b.s. educational programs in all public schools. Also, the possibility of the U.S. getting its house in order, well, we can dream right? But still, I am just amazed at the anti-U.S/Love/Hate comments I see, it is eye opening.
00:52 August 28, 2010 by Cartel Malone
I think Swedish McDonalds is way better than American McDonalds
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