The heroin commuters of Öresund
January 24, 2020 5:03 AM   Subscribe

When Denmark liberalised its drug control regime and opened safe injecting rooms for users, the rate of overdoses and drug-related fatalities dropped. One unintended consequence was an influx of Swedish heroin users into Copenhagen. Unlike Denmark, Sweden takes a zero-tolerance approach to illegal drugs, to the point of prohibiting mitigation measures which could be seen as encouraging drug use. The result of this is that some Swedish heroin users find it better to sleep rough in Denmark, where they have access to safe injecting facilities, than to remain in Sweden.

Sweden is gradually moving towards harm minimisation (for example, having legalised an anti-overdose drug recently), though for the moment, its zero-tolerance approach remains in place.
posted by acb (4 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, rather heroin users than bombs...

The injection rooms (Danish "stofindtagelsesrum", which is a bit of a tongue twister) were by no means uncontroversial, when they were introduced, but they have spread to other Danish cities. It has also, not surprisingly, been found that these rooms are especially important for female drug users (in Danish, sorry), as they are (even more) vulnerable than their male counterparts.
posted by bouvin at 5:17 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Some stats from the European monitoring centre for drugs and drug addiction. Northern European countries stand out for their high rates.

I'm not sure though how much national-level reporting policies juice these stats.
posted by anthill at 6:06 AM on January 24


Northern European countries stand out for their high rates.

How much of this is correlated to distance from the Equator and long winter nights? I suspect that alcohol and drugs would serve as mood-regulation devices for people affected by seasonal depression.
posted by acb at 6:21 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Northern European countries stand out for their high rates.
and
How much of this is correlated to distance from the Equator and long winter nights? I suspect that alcohol and drugs would serve as mood-regulation devices for people affected by seasonal depression.


I don't know a lot about this, but I do know that Italy and Portugal have more users, but are also far more tolerant and willing to hand out methadone and in other ways aid addicts, so fewer deaths, and also more addicts who can be in jobs and generally have a normal(-ish) life.
posted by mumimor at 6:50 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


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