Harsh Penalties for Drug Use

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The harshest drug laws in Europe are found in Sweden. The amount of drug use in Sweden is generally low in comparison to other countries in Europe. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reports, “the achievements of Sweden are proof that each government is responsible for the size of the drug problem in its country.”

Naysayers of this report cite the culture’s relatively abstemious nature with the low use of alcohol and prescription drugs. Another reason others use to describe the lesser rate of drug use is the country’s low rate of social inequality. As a whole Sweden has low unemployment and a generous welfare system.

There is an underbelly to zero tolerance that leaves many without resources. Measures to reduce harm like needle exchanges are not frequently employed and when someone overdoses, they are unlikely to receive help for the fear that they or their friends will be arrested. This contributes to a death rate from drugs that is three times higher than the European average.