Cablegate: Ondcp Director Kerlikowske's Stockholm Visit

DE RUEHSM #0802/01 3630621
O 290621Z DEC 09





E.O. 12958: N/A

STOCKHOLM 00000802 001.2 OF 002

1. (SBU) Summary: Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)
Director R. Gil Kerlikowske on 8 December met with Stockholm County
Police Commissioner Carin Gotblad, the Youth Chapter of the
Stockholm Police Narcotic Division, Minister of Public Health Maria
Larsson, and World Forum Against Drugs (WFAD)President Sven-Olov
Carlsson and Board Member Per Johansson. During his meetings,
Director Kerlikowske was briefed on the work of the Youth Chapter
and GOS drug control policy. Director Kerlikowske explained that
despite expectations among some, the Obama administration will not
usher in a period of liberal drug policy, but hopes to introduce a
more sophisticated and thoughtful discussion about the complex
problem posed by drugs. Director Kerlikowske also provided an
interview to Swedish Radio in which he thanked Sweden for its
efforts in Afghanistan and highlighted the common threats from drug
cultivation and smuggling of drugs from Afghanistan. End Summary.

Youth Chapter of Stockholm Police Narcotics Division
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (SBU) Stockholm County Police Commissioner Carin Gotblad briefly
met with Director Kerlikowske before members of the Youth Chapter of
the Stockholm Police Narcotic Division presented their unique and
integrated approach to combating drugs among young people (under 25)
in Sweden. The Youth Chapter employs a method that includes close
partnership with social services and a Juvenile Clinic for young
drug abusers, which focuses on detection and treatment as well as
parent involvement. Members of the Youth Chapter also reported on
developing new methods to prevent ordering drugs, including
prescription drugs, via the internet and the use of internet based
social networks as an important investigation tool. The
participants also discussed laws governing police investigations,
such as the Swedish police's right to conduct house searches or
confiscate and "empty" a cell phone without a court order. Swedish
policemen also do not face restrictions on crossing jurisdictions
due to the centralized nature of the police system.

Meeting with Minister of Public Health Maria Larsson
--------------------------------------------- -------

3. (SBU) Minister of Health Maria Larsson explained that although
the national drug strategy originates from her ministry, the drug
portfolio is shared with the ministries of Justice, Culture (schools
and sports) and Finance (Customs). Minster Larsson stressed that
Swedish drug policy aims to foster social attitudes that make drug
use a socially unacceptable behavior and noted wide public and
political support for prevention and treatment efforts in Sweden.
The government's strategy focuses on prevention and treatment
efforts, rather than supply and demand reduction, with decentralized
implementation on the level of Swedish municipalities.

4. (SBU) In response to a question about the process of formulating
a new national drug strategy, as the current one ends in 2010, the
Minister informed Director Kerlikowske that the ministry initially
seeks input from all the relevant stakeholders across Sweden,
including NGOs. Emphasis is given to assessing the effectiveness of
various methods to combat drug abuse in drafting the national
strategy. Programs are pilot tested and, if effective, are
implemented on a wider scale. The long-term 5 year strategy is
complemented by annual reports that evaluate the progress during the
previous year and set out steps for the following year to achieve
the goals of the long-term strategy.

5. (SBU) Minister Larsson and Director Kerlikowske also exchanged
views on and experiences with pilot programs that focus on health
care practitioners. They agreed that doctors have an important role
to play in reducing substance abuse. Minister Larsson argued that
health practitioners must have the knowledge to link diseases to
substance abuse and the tools to allow them to consult patients on
substance abuse. She noted the role of doctors is especially
important as "Swedes listen to doctors," but acknowledged that it is
hard to reeducate physicians, who are used to treating patients with
medications, to focus more on prevention. Minister Larsson said
these programs mostly focus on tobacco and alcohol abuse and have
been most successful in reduced alcohol use among pregnant women.

6. (SBU) In response to a question, Director Kerlikowske reflected
on the current status of marijuana for medical use in the U.S. and
noted that the legalization of marijuana for medical use has not
been unproblematic and has had unexpected side effects, such as
erosion of the quality of life in neighborhoods. The Director and
Minister Larsson agreed that legalization of drugs and the creation
of open areas for drug use or injection rooms (as in Olso or
Vancouver) are not the answer to reducing drug use and can create
more problems than they solve. Minister Larsson noted disagreements
among her Nordic counterparts about support for such initiatives and

STOCKHOLM 00000802 002.2 OF 002

stated that it is Swedish policy to avoid creating pockets of drug

7. (SBU) During their exchange, Director Kerlikowske noted the
President's national drug control strategy would be released in
February 2010 and that the Administration was seeking to address the
problem of drug control from both a public health and public safety
approach. He also confirmed legalization of marijuana held no place
in the new strategy, and remarked that the USG looked forward to
collaborating with Sweden to reduce drug use, including at the CND
in March 2010. As Minister Larsson had just returned from a meeting
on steroid abuse, there was also a brief discussion on the dangers
and prevalence of steroid abuse. At the close of the meeting,
Director Kerlikowske mentioned his serious concerns about
prescription drug abuse and the Obama Administration's renewed
emphasis on drug abuse prevention.

World Forum Against Drugs

8. (SBU) On 8 December, Director had a lunch meeting with WFAD
President Sven-Olov and Board Member Per Johansson. During lunch,
Director Kerlikowske learned about efforts by Swedish NGOs to
prevent and reduce drug use and plans by WFAD to hold the second
World Forum Against Drugs from May 24-25 2010. The Director was also
informed that GOS agreed to fund the conference and was invited by
WFAD to give a keynote address. WFAD also invited the Queen (they
believe she may be not available but will likely sponsor the
conference) and UNODC Director Costa. Cannabis research, drug trends
in sub-Saharan Africa, and the impact of adult drug abuse on
children are the 2010 conference themes. Also mentioned was the
newly launched WFAD Web site at Among other entries, it
includes a holiday reminder to parents, teens, and families about
the dangers of drug abuse from Director Kerlikowske.

Interview with Swedish Radio

9. (U) On December 9, Director Kerlikowske provided an interview to
Swedish Radio that mainly focused on the drug policy in Afghanistan.
When asked if he agreed with Ambassador Holbrooke's recent statement
that the previous drug policy in Afghanistan is one of the most
ineffective ones in decades, Director Kerlikowske agreed that
eradication had not been successful. Director Kerlikowske also
stressed the importance of enabling the host country to deal with
the drug situation on its own, stressing that corruption and
government involvement in drug trafficking are highly problematic.
Director Kerlikowske concluded with commending Sweden for its work
to fight drugs domestically and internationally, including Swedish
efforts in Afghanistan, and noted that whether the drugs end up in
Europe or in the U.S., it is a joint fight.

10. (U) This cable has been cleared by ONDCP.


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