Swedens drug control policies model for other States – UN official

The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said today that Sweden’s successful drug control policies were a model which other countries could emulate.Launching a UNODC report entitled Sweden’s Successful Drug Policy: A Review of the Evidence, Antonio Maria Costa, said drug use in Sweden was just a third of the European average while spending on drug control was three times the EU average.“Societies have the drug problem that they deserve,” Mr. Costa said. “In Sweden’s case, the commitment to prevention, law enforcement, demand reduction and treatment over the past thirty years has made a significant difference.”The report shows that amphetamine use in Sweden was high in the 1950s when those stimulants were readily available. Overall drug use rose in the second half of the 1960s during a period of relatively liberal drug policies but declined strongly in the 1970s and 1980s due to progressively tightening drug control. Drug use rose again in the 1990s due to budget cuts, unemployment and growing drug supplies but has followed a clear downward trend since 2001 as a result of a National Action Plan, the establishment of a National Drug Coordinator and improved funding, according to the report.Mr. Costa praised the culture of drug abuse prevention and treatment in Sweden. “Long-term and cohesive policies, backed up by sufficient funding and the support of civil society, have proven vital for success,” he said. “The lessons of Sweden’s drug controlhistory should be learned by others,” said Mr. Costa.

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