In the second sequel of our serial about the dark side of Swedish drug policy (watch the previous one here) we present you the life of a Swedish heroin user, Janne. We produced this movie in cooperation with the Swedish Drug Users' Union. In a society that is still intoxicated by the utopia of a drug-free world, to be a drug user is like to be an outcast, feared and rejected by “normal people”. It is quite easy to get into abstinence-based treatment (12 steps), but to enter a methadone maintenance program is hard, and even after you are in you may often face negative attitudes from the health care staff. Altough a few years ago the government adopted a new law that allows needle exchange in the country, there is still no access to sterile needles and syringes in the capital. After reviewing the evidence in hundreds of scientific studies, the relevant bodies of the UN (WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS) concluded that needle and syringe exchange programs are effective in reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS – but they do not generate more drug use.
Why do many from the Swedish political elite still resist harm reduction? Because they think that their voters expect them to be resistant. However, according to a recent public opinion survey conducted by the European Drug Policy Initiative, 57 percent of the adult population in Sweden supports needle exchange for drug users. This majority has to make its voice heard and urge the government to provide access to clean needles and syringes for drug users in Stockholm! Without a growing pressure from inside and outside of Sweden there is no chance for change.
Send an email to Ms. Maria Larsson, Minister of Public Health, and ask her to take the leadership in the fight for needle exchange!
It's easy and fast, you only need to follow these 5 steps:
Step 1 - open a new mail and copy-paste the following address to the recipient field: firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 2 - add our email to the cc (carbon copy) field: email@example.com
Step 3 - fill the subject field (e.g. "Call for needle exchange in Sweden")
Step 4 - copy-paste this sample letter to the body of you email or write your own message:
Dear Ms. Larsson,
as a Minister of Public Health it is needless to remind you that to have access to evidence based drug treatment and HIV prevention is a human right. The World Health Organization, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Joint UN Program on HIV and AIDS unanimously support needle and syringe exchange programs as an evidence-based method to stop the spread of blood born diseases.
Sweden always claimed to be a champion of human rights – but today Stockholm is the only capital in the European Union where injecting drug users have no access to sterile needles and syringes. This must be changed. The government has already committed itself to allow needle exchange programs in the country but urgent actions need to be taken to stop the violation of human rights of people who use drugs.
I do not ask you to support drug use – I only ask you to support people who use drugs in their everday struggle to avoid life-threatening harms like HIV and AIDS. According to a recent public poll, 57% of Swedish adults support needle exchange programs - they are aware of the facts that this is the best interest of the whole society.
Step 5 - send the email!
Thank you very much for your help!
Posted by Peter Sarosi