Learning from the Swedes
The development of Swedish narcotic drug control has been an interesting example for all the World. Jonas Hartelius, drug expert and assistant to the late Professor Nils Bejerot, has written a book about the Swedish post-war experience, now available at the World Forum.
|The book is available both in swedish and english
“Directly after the Second World War, the first epidemic of intravenous amphetamine abuse (misuse) in Europe originated in Sweden. The epidemic has lasted for more than 60 years. During this time, the actual narcotic drug control regime has gone through significant changes. The Swedish experience has become interesting as an example for other countries. After having made mistakes with e.g. legal prescription of narcotic drugs to chronic abusers and administrative decriminalization, Swedish narcotic drug control has gradually become more comprehensive and restrictive. A number of people involved have documented the turns of events, evaluated the results, gathered considerable experience, and kept on working with fresh approaches. Many people have accumulated considerable knowledge about how to prevent, discover, and stop abuse of narcotic drugs.
In my book Narcotic Drug Control Policy in Sweden – The Post-war Experience, I have summarized the main features of the development and the debate on narcotic drugs during the post-war period.
Independent debate outside the establishment and the mobilizing of public opinion against drugs have been of crucial importance
I think that two main conclusions can be drawn. One is that changes in drug policy really affect the spread and extent of drug abuse. A more permissive (“liberal”) control policy leads to an increase, whereas a more restrictive control policy leads to a decrease.
The other conclusion is that the independent debate outside the establishment and the mobilizing of public opinion against drugs have been of crucial importance for the development of the Swedish control of narcotic drugs. It is an example of the importance which the Linnaean disciple Petter Forsskål, in his publication Tankar om borgerliga friheten (“Thoughts about citizens’ freedom”; 1759) attached to free speech: “The freedom of writing drives the sciences to their eminence, reveals all harmful constitutions, bridles the injustice of all clerks, and is the safest defence for the government in a free realm."
by JONAS HARTELIUS
Scientific adviser to the Swedish Carnegie Institute
Jonas Hartelius: Narcotic Drug Control Policy in Sweden – The Post-war Experience, FRI Publishing House, Stockholm, 2008. Foreword by Dr. Robert L. Dupont, M.D.
The book will be made available to the participants at the World Forum Against Drugs in Stockholm 8 – 10 September.