Sweden - Alcohol Strategy

In February 2016 the Swedish Government adopted a new coherent strategy for alcohol, narcotics, doping and tobacco (ANDT) for the period 2016–2020. In the new strategy, the Government takes further steps to increase activity in this area to achieve the objective set by the Riksdag: A society free from narcotic drugs and doping, with reduced alcohol-related medical and social harm and reduced tobacco use.

 

Swedish ANDT policy covers both legal (alcohol and tobacco) and illegal (narcotics and doping substances) drugs. This means that the conditions vary, but one common starting point in ANDT policy is the right of each and every person to have the best possible physical and mental health. This is also stated in the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

 

ANDT policy is also part of Swedish welfare and rests on solidarity. This means that restrictions to personal freedom can be accepted in order to protect public health, which is expressed, for example, in strong support for the Swedish alcohol monopoly, age limits for the purchase of alcohol and tobacco, and the criminalisation of narcotics and doping.

 

For everyone to have the chance of maintaining good health, general measures need to be supplemented with targeted measures to people living in socially vulnerable situations as a result of substance abuse or addiction.

 

There are six objectives that, combined, are to help achieve the overarching objective:

# Access to alcohol, narcotics, doping substances and tobacco must be reduced.
# The number of children and young people who start to use narcotics, doping substances and tobacco or who have an early alcohol debut must be progressively reduced.
# The number of women and men, as well as girls and boys, who become involved in the harmful use or abuse of or dependence on alcohol, narcotics, doping substances or tobacco must be progressively reduced.
# Women and men, as well as girls and boys, with abuse or addiction problems must be given greater access to good-quality care and support on the basis of their circumstances and needs.
# The number of women and men, as well as girls and boys, who die or are injured as a result of their own or others' use of alcohol, narcotics, doping substances or tobacco must be reduced.
# An EU and international approach to ANDT that is based on public health.

 

Under the Swedish Social Services Act, the municipalities are to prevent and combat the abuse of alcohol and other addictive substances. This applies in particular to abuse among children and young people. Municipalities must also offer measures to people with abuse or addiction problems.

 

The regional level consists of 21 county councils or regions responsible for health and medical care. County councils must work preventively, and highlight and offer care and treatment for people with abuse or addiction problems.

 

At central government level there are a number of national agencies that help in various ways to implement ANDT policy. The Public Health Agency of Sweden and the National Board of Health and Welfare are central agencies that with their expertise support those working in the area at local and regional level. The Public Health Agency of Sweden is also responsible for following up public health policy and the ANDT strategy. In the new strategy, the Agency is given a stronger and clearer role in supporting the implementation of the ANDT strategy.

Find more from the Government Offices of Sweden