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Police in Sweden Seize Millions in Drugs Outside Capital

In one of Europe’s most intolerant countries when it comes to drug laws, a massive drug operation was dismantled Thursday. It’s the latest move in a series of efforts to curb drug traffic and organized crime in the country.

According to Swedish police, around 500 kg (1.102 pounds) worth of illegal drugs were seized by forces in Stockholm on December 1. The street value was approximately 80 million Kronor, or $7.6 Million USD.

Police say that 260 kilograms (573 pounds)—the largest portion of drugs—was amphetamine, and the rest of the types of drugs were not specified.

Three men were taken into police custody in Tyreso (south of Stockholm), for suspected serious drug offenses. A large quantity of drug seized from an apartment in Tyreso was also found by police when officers searched another Tyreso house.

“This is a very large seizure,” Susanne Wikland, deputy chief in the Stockholm city police area, told The Associated Press. Wikland added that it was the result of “aggressive work over a longer period of time,” adding that drug traffic is “large and [expensive] serious organized crime.”

This follows an operation similar to last month in Stockholm, where police seized cannabis and cocaine with a street value between 50 million and 100 million Kronor (or $4.8 million to $9.6 millions USD).

Zero tolerance for Drugs or Medical Cannabis Sweden

This is bad news for the men involved, given Sweden’s particularly harsh stance on drugs: Transform Drug Policy Foundation reported that while cannabis and drug laws loosen in Europe—pretty much all around Sweden—the country maintains its zero tolerance policies. 

“… The degree to which Sweden’s low prevalence of drug use can be attributed to its repressive approach is highly questionable, as research consistently shows that wider social, economic and cultural factors are the key drivers of drug prevalence—not the harshness of enforcement,” Transform Drug Policy Foundation writes.

Some organizations believe Sweden’s zero tolerance policy increases harm. Drake, a traveling performer, learned this hard lesson the hard way. It’s a stark difference from neighboring Denmark, which has experimented in the past with innovations like drug consumption rooms.

The country also isn’t too keen on medical cannabis. A recent study conducted by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden attacked “positive coverage of cannabis” despite what they call poor results. The study found that medicinal cannabis did not provide pain relief as well as a placebo and suggests that medical cannabis myths are out there.

Sweden’s Zero Policy on Drugs Doesn’t Work

But is Sweden’s strict approach to drug use even working? That’s debatable. Furthermore, blow is very popular in Scandinavia.

SVT released an analysis that showed cocaine is more popular, less expensive, and has remained more pure in Sweden. ForbesReports indicate that drug busts have increased almost 300 percent in total since 2012. This is in line with an increase in drug busts made by customs. The Swedish Customs confiscated 485kg of cocaine in 2018, mostly through two large seizures, 298 kg and 99.5 kg.

This report shows that the drug is causing more deaths. Data from the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine shows that cocaine is the leading cause of death for 20 of the cases, compared with just one in the past few years.

Sweden’s zero tolerance approach on drugs might affect alcohol consumption as well. Sweden’s college students report higher drinking levels than those in the U.S., where there are stricter drug laws.