Sweden Country Drug Report 2017

Harm reduction

One of the long-term objectives of ANDT is to reduce the harm caused by the use of alcohol, drugs, doping and tobacco. In 2015, the Public Health Agency of Sweden released the first national guidelines for health promotion and prevention of hepatitis and HIV infection among PWID. The recommendations included that county councils should initiate low-threshold services (LTHS), including a needle and syringe exchange programme (NSP). Implementation of LTHS with an aims of preventing drug-related infectious diseases and promoting access to treatment and care services among PWID is within the competence of the county councils. By the end of 2015, three counties — Stockholm, Kalmar and Skåne — operated a total of six LTHS incorporating an NSP.

Harm reduction interventions

Regulations concerning NSPs were drawn up by the National Board of Health and Welfare in February 2007 and define the procedures that county councils should follow. These include a justification of need (e.g. an estimate of the number of potential service users); an assessment of available resources; and a provision plan for complementary and additional care services (e.g. detoxification, drug treatment and aftercare). The regulations also stipulate the obligation for NSPs to inform clients about injecting risks and to offer additional services, including vaccinations and testing for infectious diseases, and they define further quality management rules for the implementation of such services. Drug users are eligible to participate in an NSP when they offer proof of identity and are 20 years of age or older

Availability of selected harm reduction responses

NB Year of data 2016.


Data from five of the six LTHS show that more than 281 000 syringes were distributed and the service reached approximately 2 590 clients in 2015.

The LTHS also provide their clients with medical and social care and support. They offer free HCV, HIV and HBV testing, and HBV vaccination, monitor and address risk behaviours and link up with other supportive services such as OST programmes and the social services. Pharmacies in Sweden are not allowed to sell needles or syringes to people without a prescription for medical use.

More than 281 000 syringes were distributed in 2015 through the needle and syringe exchange programmes

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