Scottish Police investigate Scandinavian-style tough drugs policy

By Pondlife · Jun 18, 2007 · ·
  1. Pondlife
    Police investigate tough drugs policy
    The Herald, June 18 2007

    The man leading Scotland's fight against organised crime is investigating Scandinavian-style get-tough policies on drugs.

    Graeme Pearson, the head of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, said yesterday he was drawing up a detailed report on Sweden's brand of no-nonsense zero-tolerance on narcotics.

    Earlier this year, The Herald revealed calls from Mr Pearson to scrap Britain's system of drug classification in favour of a tougher stance. Now he and colleagues have visited Sweden to see how their policies, a combination of strict prohibition and reinforced education, have helped keep addiction at relatively low levels.

    The UN has singled out Sweden for praise. The country, with twice the population of Scotland, has half as many addicts.

    Mr Pearson said: "They still have a drug problem in Sweden. It's not an island of tranquillity in a sea of despair. But the UN report indicates Sweden has a number of policies which it promotes as best practice. Hence my interest.

    Mr Pearson and his team will report their findings to other agencies, including the Scottish Executive.

    Sweden, usually seen as a laid-back nation, has toyed with introducing liberal drug laws in the past. In recent decades, however, it has taken tougher stances on drugs.

    Five years ago it appointed its first national drugs co-ordinator, Bjorn Fries, and gave him a multi-million budget.

    His service is designed to bring together different agencies, from the police to education and health, and is focused as much on helping existing addicts get off drugs as trying to prevent new people becoming involved in the habit.

    Sweden has avoided the UK policy of downgrading some drugs compared with others.

    Mr Pearson and other experts are worried about the growing availability of Scottish-grown and highly potent cannabis. The drug, they believe, is dangerous, not least to those prone to certain kinds of mental illnesses.
    Sweden has carefully measured cannabis use in recent years, including testing every young person doing national service in their army.

    Figures for those with the drugs in their systems, after serious investment, are down. Cannabis prevalence among 16-year-olds in Sweden has fallen from 10% in the late 1990s to 7% now. Teenagers are also thought to be smoking and drinking less.

    Mr Pearson and his colleagues are eager to avoid jumping to conclusions about why that is the case.

    So are the Swedes. Christina Gynna Oguz, Mr Fries's deputy, last year said: "It is too early to draw any conclusions.

    "A cautious interpretation is that the massive investments that we have done over the past years in mobilising local communities and civil society for the prevention of alcohol and drug use is starting to pay off.

    "Certainly, it remains to be seen if we can sustain this commitment at local level."


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  1. Orchid_Suspiria
    Swim thought for awhile only the US had such nasty little piggies,unfortunately he was wrong.
  2. Bajeda
  3. Orchid_Suspiria
    This is sad that countries that once had liberal and sane policies on drug use are going to this.
  4. English_T
  5. Pondlife
    But from what I've seen lately, the Dutch government are becoming much less liberal than they were. Many of the coffeeshops have been closed, and the Netherlands is now often one of the first countries in Europe to ban a new RC when it starts to become popular.

    I hope that this de-liberalisation in Europe is just a temporary setback, and when I'm in a positive mood I am sure that this is the case - after all, we have also recently seen the reclassification of cannabis in the UK to class C.

    However, sometimes I'm reminded of Viscount Grey, who said at the start of the first world war: "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime".
  6. Triple7
    There are stoned people here and there in Sweden. SWIY can find as many junkies near the Central Station as in any other European capital. At the clubs, there are those high on coke and it isn't impossible to spot who is the seller. 90% of those on raves are still tripping and they don't care that the police drive them home or to detention. I think the diffeerence is that in Sweden the police knows quite good who is using drugs. They even target famous people to show the masses their attitude of what is right and wrong. Snoop was taken. Sometimes it can be rather nasty and expensive to get caught, but it isn't like USA where you get 30 years for something ridiculous. For example, if a guy is cought with 100 trips he will get a few years in Sweden.
  7. Nature Boy
    From the thread Bajeda linked:

    I tend to agree with this. Different drug policies work for different countries. Scotland, I'm guessing, is a lot like Ireland and temperance is something that doesn't apply to the general population when it comes to drug use.
  8. Horiz
    Eh? This is a bit of a contrast from (2006 Scottish Police call to legalize drugs).

    As a Scottish citizen I'm very unimpressed by this. I was actually becoming hopeful of my country since that was published and the recent calls for MDMA to be reclassified as Class B.

    What a disappointment.
  9. sunyata
    Weren't the charges dropped because he got a doctor in California to write him a prescription?
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