Sweden's low illicit drug use levels are due to changes in government policy

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For[edit | edit source]

  • A study conducted in 2000 supported the view that the new, tougher policy had had a preventive effect on drug use.[1] Specifically
    • It found an increase in toughness of policies during the period of 1976 to 1992. There was a change towards more "demand reduction" policies versus an emphasis solely on supply.
      • Prosecutors were recommended to waive prosecution less.
      • More police resources and operations to target street-level drug trafficking.
    • It found a substantial increase in fines, imprisonment, and probation following such policy changes.
    • It found that the age distribution of drug offenders became significantly older from the 1970s to the 1980s to the 1990s.
    • Surveys indicate that youth exposure and use of cannabis fell significantly during the 1980s.
  • A 2007 report by the UNODC praised Sweden for having one of the lowest drug usage rates in the western world, and attributed this to a drug policy that invested heavily in strict law enforcement.[2]
    • "The number of drug users in Sweden today seems to be smaller than it was before the advent of a concerted drug policy, starting in 1969 when the Government introduced a ten point programme against drugs. In 2006 6 per cent of the students age 15-16 had used drugs, down from 15 per cent in 1971."
    • "Naturally, it cannot be stated with certainty that the generally positive drug abuse situation in the country is the result of – by international standards - generous anti-drug budgets and strict policies that have been applied over the last three decades. However, a review of fluctuations in abuse rates shows that periods of low drug abuse in the country are associated with times when the drug problem was regarded as a priority."

Against[edit | edit source]

  • The methodology of the UNODC report has been criticized:
    • For being unscientific and biased in favor of stricter drug laws[3]
    • Since Sweden was the fourth largest donor to the UNODC in 2007.[4]

See Also[edit | edit source]

Citations[edit | edit source]