The idea for this thesis has a long history. After three years of casual labour, I started a job at the detoxification ward for drug addicts at the mental hospital St. Lars in Lund in the south of Sweden, in 1980. The fact that I, as a Dutchman, worked with drug addicts in a Swedish ward evoked mixed emotions. From the very first day, I was asked to account for my opinion on the Dutch drug policy. I was surprised and confused that the staff, the clients, and others involved in drug issues showed so much interest in that policy. I became even more surprised when the Dutch policy was singled out as the cause of drug problems in Sweden. Not only at work but also in other contexts, I experienced sometimes aggressive attitudes against the Dutch policy and myself. Even some addicts blamed the Dutch and occasionally me for their problems.
Somehow, I felt compelled to add theoretical knowledge of substance abuse and drug policies to my personal experiences with the Dutch and Swedish policies. Until 1994, this was my own, private endeavour. Due to cut-downs in social policy in Sweden, I became a member of the growing army of unemployed. By coincidence, I eventually met one of my former directors, Bengt Svensson, who encouraged me to follow a preparatory course for scientific research at the School of Social Work in Lund, which I did. To make a long story short, two years later I was a Ph.D. candidate at the School of Social Work. After some minor research projects, an application for funds to the Swedish Council of Social Research was rewarded (Dnr: 98-0114:1C) and financed a three year' research period. The grant meant that I was able to pursue the study that started in 1980 full-time and it now has resulted in this thesis.
Writing a thesis is not a one-man or - woman job and I would like to thank some people in particular. My promoter, Professor Sune Sunesson, for his unyielding belief that the study would end in a thesis. Marcel de Kort and Bengt Svensson for their generous support and for patiently commenting on drafts of the manuscript. Bengt Andersson, Per Gunnar Edebalk, Lars Harrysson, Hakan Jonsson, Leili Laanemets, Juha Partanen, Jan Petersson and Kerstin Svensson, for comments. Alan Crozier has turned the manuscript into comprehensible English. Eva Broms designed the cover.
Finally, I thank Anita, Jonatan, Ernst, Hans, Kalle, and my families and friends in Sweden and the Netherlands, who never stopped asking how I was doing and when I would be finished, questions that I was not able to answer satisfactorily until now.
© digitalized by drugtext foundation