Unemployment, Social Exclusion, and Drug Use in Sweden

"The Swedish unemployment rates were rather low during the 1970s and the 1980s. During the first half of the 1990s unemployment rates reached relatively high levels, especially among youths (16- 24 years). In the late half of the 1990s the figures have decreased, but the unemployment rates 1998 was still four-folded compared to 1989. One possible reason for increases in drug use among younger people, apart from an increased supply, is problems connected to social exclusion and high levels of youth unemployment. Negative future prospects, at least for certain groups of youths, might be a reason for not giving up experimentation with drugs, which in turn might lead to long lasting severe drug use.
"During the 1990s there has been financial cut downs within the general welfare systems as well as in special forms of treatment (walk in clinics, therapeutic communities, etc). This might have had impact both on recruitment of new drug users who fall through the welfare net but also on the possibilities to offer drug users appropriate treatment. Statements from social workers, policemen, hospital staff and others sometimes indicates that the group of severe drug users are worse off nowadays, regarding economic and health aspects."


Swedish National Institute of Public Health & Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs, "National Report: Sweden 2002" (Lisboa, Portugal: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2003), p. 37.