Understanding the costs of drug-related actions is an important aspect of drug policy. Some of the funds allocated by governments to expenditure on tasks related to drugs are identified as such in the budget (‘labelled’). Often, however, the majority of drug-related expenditure is not identified (‘unlabelled’) and must be estimated using modelling approaches.
In Sweden, the implementation of the previous Cohesive Strategy for Alcohol, Narcotic Drugs, Doping and Tobacco Policy, covering the years 2011-15, was supported by annual action programmes adopted by the government. In line with the principles of the action plans, the Swedish Government also detailed an annual budget for some drug-related activities.
Six estimates of drug-related public expenditures have been made in Sweden so far, but the study for 2002, published in 2006, is the only one to provide information about the methodology used. In 2002, total drug-related expenditure was estimated to represent between 0.2 % and 0.4 % of gross domestic product (GDP), amounting to between EUR 449 million and 1 billion. The majority of total expenditure was spent on law enforcement (70-76 %), followed by treatment (22-28 %) and small proportions on prevention (0.7-1.7 %) and harm reduction (0.1-0.2 %).
As the methods used to estimate drug-related expenditures have changed over time, it is not possible to report on trends in drug-related public expenditure in Sweden.
In 2016, the current government strategy was adopted (see section ‘National drug strategy’), and the government earmarked SEK 163 million (EUR 17.2 million) for its implementation in 2016. The proposal for implementation of the strategy indicated annual budget allocations of SEK 213 million for 2017 and 2018 (corresponding to EUR 22.5 million at 2016 prices).