Sweden

Subsections:

Page last updated June 9, 2020 by Doug McVay, Editor/Senior Policy Analyst.

1. Estimated Prevalence of Past-Year Illicit Substance Use in Sweden

"In 2013, an additional cross-sectional study of drug use was conducted in a nationally representative sample of the population in Sweden (Ramstedt, 2014). A total of 15,576 individuals (59.3% of the total sample) participated in the study and 10.5% reported that they had used an illicit drug or used some prescription medication in a non-prescribed way during the past 12 months. In this study, cocaine and amphetamines were the most common illicit substance reported after cannabis. Among men and women aged 17-64, 3.3% reported having used cocaine and 3.0% reported having used amphetamine at some time in their lives, followed by ecstasy (2.4%), opioids (2.2%), and hallucinogens (2.1%). Use of prescription medication was much more common and 6.5% reported having used painkillers in a non-prescribed way and 2.8% reported having used sedatives/tranquilizers in a non-prescribed way during the past 12 months."

Swedish National Institute of Public Health. "2014 National Report (2013 data) to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point: Sweden: New Development and Trends." Östersund: Swedish National Institute of Public Health, 2014, p. 33.
http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/pu...
http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/at...

2. Estimated Number of Current Drug Users in Sweden

"Two per cent of the men and 0.9 per cent of the women reported some type of illicit drug use in the past 30 days, corresponding to approximately 53,000 men and 24,000 women or a total of 77,000 people. Adding to this the 50,000 people who in the past 30 days had used prescription medicine without a doctor’s prescription, the total figure increases to 127,000 people. The population study indicates that the highest proportion of regular drug use is found among young men between the ages of 15 to 24, while the highest proportion among women is observed in the ages of 25 to 34. Regular drug use then decreases with increasing age for both genders. The results from the student survey do not indicate that students use illicit drugs more than others of the same age in the population. For prescription medicines, patterns opposite to illicit drugs are seen in terms of age and gender. Approximately twice as many women as men have used narcotics-classed or addictive medicines without or in excess of a doctor’s prescription."

"Narkotikabruket i Sverige (The use of narcotic drugs in Sweden)" (Ostersund, Sweden: Statens Folkhälsoinstitut, 2010), p. 16.
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3. Lifetime Prevalence of Drug Use Among Youth in Sweden

"The Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN) conducts annual national studies of the alcohol and drug use of school-age children. Since 1971, they have conducted school-based teacher-monitored surveys among a nationally representative sample of 9th grade elementary school students 15-16 years old. Since 2004, studies have also been carried out in the second year of upper-secondary school (11th grade) among students aged 17-18. In these annual surveys of adolescents, questions are asked about their use of a wide range of different substances and illicit drugs.
"In the latest published measurement from the surveys conducted in 2013, the lifetime prevalence of use of any type of illicit drug among 15- and 16-year-old boys and girls was 7.3% and 5.7% respectively (Centralförbundet för alkohol och narkotikaupplysning, 2014c). Cannabis was by far the most common drug, and the change over time in the proportion of boys and girls reporting use of drugs is presented in Figure 2.7. The prevalence reached a low level in the mid- to late 1980s and early 1990ts, and have had a somewhat higher and varying level during the past 20 years.
"In the older age group i.e. 17- and 18-year-old students, the lifetime prevalence of ever having used an illicit drug was 19.4% for boys and 13.8% for girls (Centralförbundet för alkohol och narkotikaupplysning, 2014c) . Among those who had used an illicit drug, the most common drug was cannabis, although some level of use of benzodiazepines, cocaine and amphetamines was also reported. Very few students reported use of drugs before the age of 14, 2% of the boys and 1% of the girls, and these results have remained the same over the past 20 years."

Swedish National Institute of Public Health. "2014 National Report (2013 data) to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point: Sweden: New Development and Trends." Östersund: Swedish National Institute of Public Health, 2014, pp. 33-34.
http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/pu...
http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/at...

4. Age of First Drug Use in Sweden

"According to CAN’s 2012 school population survey (Centralförbundet för alkohol- och narkotikaupplysning, 2013), very few students used drugs before the age of 14; 2% of the boys and 1% of the girls. The percentage of students who reported drug use before the age of 14 has been stable over the last 20 years.
"The percentage of students (15-16 years of age) who had had an opportunity to try drugs (for the first time) increased at the end of the 1990s and the increase continued until 2000 when 27% reported in the survey that they had had the opportunity to try drugs. From then on, the percentage decreased again and in 2012 it was 18%. The percentage of older students (17-18 years of age) who had had an opportunity to try drugs is somewhat larger, approximately 32 % (Centralförbundet för alkohol- och narkotikaupplysning, 2013."

Swedish National Institute of Public Health. "2013 National Report (2012 data) to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point: Sweden: New Developments, Trends and in-depth information on selected issues." Östersund: Swedish National Institute of Public Health, 2013, p. 34.
http://folkhalsomyndigheten.se...

5. Correlations Between Alcohol Use, Tobacco Use, and Other Drug Use Among Swedish Youth

"Among students aged 15-16, approximately 40% of those who had used drugs also reported a large consumption of alcohol and this was a much higher proportion than among students with no reported drug use (8%). Further, among students aged 17-18, there was a large difference between students with and without experience of drug use with regard to extensive alcohol consumption, although the difference was not as large as for students aged 15-16 (Centralförbundet för alkohol och narkotikaupplysning, 2014c). There was also an association between reported drug use and binge drinking. Among students who reported drug use, almost 57% of 15- and 16-year-olds and 74% of 17- and 18-year-olds reported monthly binge drinking. This is a considerably higher percentage than could be found among students with no drug experience. Use of tobacco was also more common among students with experience of drug use, compared with students with no drug experience (Centralförbundet för alkohol och narkotikaupplysning, 2014c)."

Swedish National Institute of Public Health. "2014 National Report (2013 data) to the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point: Sweden: New Development and Trends." Östersund: Swedish National Institute of Public Health, 2014, p. 34.
http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/pu...
http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/at...

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