Sweden tops drug-related deaths chart

2:38 min

Sweden has the highest proportions of drug-related deaths in the European Union, with 81 cases per 1 million citizens, which is nearly four times higher than the EU average, the latest European Drug Report shows.

The report, published by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), is based on statistics from 2018 among Europeans aged 15 to 64. While Sweden ranks highest, just ahead of the UK, there has been a drop in Swedish death rates in 2018 and 2019, Swedish Television News reports.

Mimmi Eriksson Tinghög, an analyst at the Unit of Drug Prevention at Sweden's Public Health Agency, told Swedish Television that there are "no simple explanations" as to why the mortality rate is so high in Sweden. She said:

For a long time, Sweden offered little access to medication-assisted treatment, which is one of the most efficient measures against mortality, just like the drug Naloxon which is designed to reverse overdoses."

Earlier this year, the Public Health Agency published a report with a list of suggested measures to address drug use in Sweden, several of them proving controversial. Like the proposal to introduce so-called injection rooms, where people can inject drugs under the supervision of health-care personnel.

The Agency also wants to review Sweden's drug laws, including the prohibition on personal use of narcotics.

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