This book explores the outcomes of Sweden’s aim to create a ‘drug-free society’ on the lived realities, health, and welfare of people who use drugs, and on the dynamics of Swedish drug use. Drawing on a wealth of empirical data, including extensive interview testimony and participant observation from years of fieldwork conducted in Sweden, the book debunks the widely-believed myth that Sweden is a progressive, liberal, inclusive state. In contrast to its liberal reputation, Sweden has criminalised the use of drugs and allows for compulsory treatment for those with drug dependencies. The work argues that Swedish law and policy cannot be demonstrated to have decreased drug use as intended, with the law used instead as a means with which to displace people who use drugs from public spaces in Sweden’s cities. And where the law has failed in its ambition to decrease drug use, Swedish law and policy have increased and exacerbated the problems, dangers, and harms that can be associated with it. People who use drugs in Sweden experience considerable and endemic difficulties with health, violence, abuse, and social exclusion, stigma, and discrimination as a result of Sweden’s drug laws, policies, and discourses.
Table of Contents
1. Historical, Legal, Discursive Precedent 2. Reimagining Drugs (and People who Use Them) 3. Dynamics and Displacement of Swedish Drug Use 4. Service Provision and Harm Reduction 5. Experiences of Service and Healthcare Provision 6. The Outcomes of Sweden’s War on People who Use Drugs
Jay Levy is Policy and Advocacy Officer at the International Network of People who Use Drugs Secretariat, a human rights and health NGO based in London. He has freelanced as a consultant and researcher in the areas of advocacy and policy, including for the Global Network of Sex Work Projects. He previously worked at the African Medical and Research Foundation. His research interests include the outcomes of sex work and drug legislation and discourse; feminist, gender, and queer theory; harm reduction, HIV/AIDS, STI, and blood-borne infection policy and law.