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"Syringe exchange - given only the off drugs": Swedish authorities and politicians management of clean needles for drug addicts
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology.
2012 (Swedish)In: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, ISSN 1455-0725, Vol. 29, no 5, 519-540 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

AIMS - The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how Swedish authorities and politicians have related to syringe exchange in Sweden during the last 25 years. As the syringe exchange in Sweden still is very limited, this study focuses on the arguments for and against syringe exchange, and how the question has been formulated in the political proposals during the period studied. METHODS AND DATA - Since 1988 the National Board of Health and Welfare conducted three major studies on the effects and relevance of syringe exchange. These studies, and the policy documents that followed, are qualitatively analyzed in this paper. RESULTS - The processes have all looked the same; NBHW has proposed syringe exchange programs, which are a mix of drug policy and infection control aspects. During the political process the proposals have changed so that the infections control aspects has been downgraded on behalf of drug-policy interests. The arguments for this change have to their nature been abstract. CONCLUSIONS - Even though Sweden established its first experiments with syringe exchange already in the mid-1980s, it is not before the year 2006 that the country’s all counties by law are allowed to provide clean syringes to their drug users. However, the law is modeled on a fear of harmful effects of drug use, and a will to rather encourage drug treatment than other measures. Thereby the importance of the infections control aspect is heavily undermined.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
POLAND: Versita , 2012. Vol. 29, no 5, 519-540 p.
Keyword [en]
syringe exchange, Sweden, drug policy
National Category
Substance Abuse
Research subject
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-85720DOI: 10.2478/v10199-012-0044-5ISI: 000318415800007OAI: diva2:584451
FAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, 2007-0799FAS, Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, 2006-1523

Author Count: 1;

Available from: 2013-01-09 Created: 2013-01-09 Last updated: 2013-06-10Bibliographically approved

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Tryggvesson, Kalle
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