Swedish European Drug Crusade Collapses
When Sweden entered the European Union in the mid nineties, the Swedish government announced, in a blare of publicity, that promoting the Swedish Model repressive drug policy in Europe was to be one of its major aims.
Half page advertisements were taken out in most European national daily newspapers proclaiming the superiority of Swedish drugs policy. Glossy brochures were sent to all members of the European parliament extolling the virtues of the Swedish Model and boasting of how Swedish style repression would solve Europe's drug problems.
Money was no object for the Swedish drug warriors. ECAD, European Cities Against Drugs was launched from Stockholm, lavishly financed by Swedish government funds.
Parliamentary pressure groups were formed to combatEuropean 'drug liberalism' and win support for the Swedish crusade. Massive resources were invested in promoting Swedish policy and in combatting what the Swedes derisivly termed 'Drug Liberalism'.
Sweden was to be held up as an example for the rest of Europe to follow and the 'Swedish Model' drug war was to become the flagship of Swedish European policy.
In the years since their entry into the European Union, reality has caught up with the Swedish drug warriors. Drug abuse in Sweden is skyrocketing out of control. Despite the most draconian and constantly escalating drug laws in Europe,drug use and abuse is now approaching the levels of the drug epidemics of the late Sixties and early Seventies. The number of hard drug addicts has risen from 12,000 to 22,000, and this
in a country of under 10 million inhabitants.
Deaths due to drug abuse in Sweden are amongst the highestin Europe, having risen from 50 per year in 1970 to 250 per year today. In the age group 20-39, drugs account for 10 percent of all deaths, as many as die in traffic accidents. (Narkotikafrågan no. 4 1999)
Law enforcement in Sweden is collapsing as a result of their drug war. For years Swedish law enforcement agencies have been warning of impending disaster as their drug war and the crime it generates escalates uncontrollably. Law and orderin parts of Sweden is in danger of breaking down and whole areas of Stockholm have become war zones controlled by pushers and rival drug gangs. Life in them is becoming intolerable and the police are powerless to stem the rising drug crime. On the 14.12.99, the terrorised inhabitants of Ragsved, Hagstra and Bandhagen held a desperate protest action, widely reported inthe Swedish press, and demanded immediate action from the authorities to win back their suburbs from the pushers and drug gangs. The authorities are worried that desperate citizens may resort to vigilante action, and a report by the National Crime Prevention Agency, the 'Brottsforebygganderad', 22.02.00, said
that immediate action is imperative if citizens are to beprevented from taking matters into their own hands.
On January 1, 2001, Sweden is due to take over chairmanship of the European Union. Of all the policies and issues to be highlighted by the Swedes, one will be glaringly obvious by its omission. There will be no mention of the 'Swedish Model'. TheSwedish drug war crusade has been quietly dropped and replaced
by an embarressed silence.
Annika Mansnerus of the Swedish Social Department and a member of the Narcotics Work Group in the Council of Ministers announced to the press 10.12.99 that "Drugs policy will not be a priority of Sweden during the EU chairmanship. The Government has decided to pursue other issues".
The Swedes have become aware of the fact that their country, instead of being a showplace for successful repressive narcotics policies, has become an advertisement for the catastrophic failure of prohibition.