SKL: Investigate whether it should be legal to use drugs
Thirty years ago, it became illegal to use drugs in Sweden and the law has not been evaluated since then. But now the Swedish Municipalities and County Council, SKL, wants the law to be evaluated to find out if it makes it more difficult for relief efforts for people with addictive illness or not.
Since 1988 it has been a criminal offense to use and possess narcotics and before the law was clubbed there was a great debate about what advantages and disadvantages a criminalization could lead to.
The criminalization of consumption was considered, among other things, important in signaling a distance from drugs from society, not least in order to prevent young people from testing drugs.
At the same time, voices were raised that criminalization of the mill would "adversely affect the individual's ambitions and efforts to seek care for his or her addiction" and require large police resources.
In 1993, there was also a sharpening of the sentence and imprisonment for a maximum of six months was introduced in the scale of the crime for his own use.More dies of drugs
Since then, however, drug-related mortality has increased and is also high in comparison with other EU countries, something that SKL highlights as one of several reasons why the law should be evaluated.
"Regardless of the position on whether it should be punishable to use and possess drugs for their own use, the consequences of that part of the drug penalties law need to be elucidated to see if the effects have become those intended at the introduction," states SKL's action plan.
Mikael Malm is the coordinator at SKL and recently presented the organization's proposal to the politicians in the Riksdag's social committee.
- I think there is a greater political consensus on this than before. The issue has been sensitive and as politicians there has been uncertainty about raising these issues and then appearing as a critic of Sweden's restrictive drug policy. But the time may be ripe to review drug legislation now."Not legalization"
However, it is worth pointing out that it is not about legalizing drugs or changing Sweden's restrictive drug policy.
- We do not want to take a stand on this issue, but you need to look at this. Has the law posed any obstacle to people seeking help. There is a repressive approach to people in abuse because it is criminal to use and possess drugs. With the law's design, there is an obvious risk that the police will spend more resources on their own mills than on the big culprits and more serious drug offenses, says Mikael Malm.Norway's turnaround has had an impact
SKL also believes that an evaluation should include an international outlook and Mikael Malm mentions, among other things, Portugal, which was early in decriminalizing drug use and shifting focus and resources from punishment to care. He also believes that Norway's reversal of this issue may have affected Swedish politicians.
SKL's Action Plan on Abuse and Dependence from which the evaluation proposal comes, also addresses the view of abuse and the need to reduce the stigma of people with addiction.
- We want to change the view of addiction and addiction because it affects how society takes care of these people. People who depend on this should not be punished, but offered care and treatment, says Mikael Malm.