The Swedish Drug Users Union – SDUU – in English

Mission statement:

SDUU organize users of all legal- and illicit drugs as well as users who have or wants substitution treatment.

”Nothing About Us Without Us” is the slogan and philosophy we work by.

That means that all individuals and groups must be represented by themselves and be able speak on their own behalf. It doesn't matter if they organize in groups or speak as individuals.

We demand a separation between the treatment of drug users and drug policy and we therefore reject all ideology that gets in the way of the individuals right to determine their own health care choices.

We believe in human rights, equal treatment, and zero discrimination of our member collective.

We also advocate harm reduction in all aspects including decriminalization of drugs.

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The Swedish Drug Users Union (SDUU) is an NGO and was founded in October 2002 by users associated to the Swedish OST programs.
”Nothing About Us Without Us” is the most important issue in our philosophy, which means that all groups must be represented by themselves and speak on their own behalf. For example – the board of directors should only include the target group. It is stated in our statues that only users can be on the board.
SDUU organize drug users of both legal- and illicit drugs, opioid/opiate users who have or wants OST. We also support the idea of maintanance treatment for amphetamine users and other drugs.
Our work includes appeals, complaints, support users with different matters such as: apply for maintenance treatment, advocate for patient rights and to convince the healthcare and social workers to see and understand things from the users perspective. We are also write op-eds and carry out lobbying.
We cooperate with several European and international organizations that support a drug policy based upon the ideas of harm reduction and human rights. SDUU is a steering committee member of the EuroHRN (European Harm Reduction Network), the Swedish representatives for INPUD and NAMA, we are also a associated partner with the Correlation network.
SDUU arrange a yearly seminar with focus on HR. One part of the seminar is a award ceremony for ”Brukarvänspriset” (the user friendly award). Earlier winners include Professor Lars Gunne – the founding father of one of the worlds oldest OST (Opiate substitution – Ulleråker hospital Uppsala founded 1967) outside NYC, Björn Fries – former drug policy coordinator to the government, the needle exchange program in Malmö & Lund, Professor Henrik Tham, Professor Ted Goldberg, The National Board of Health and Welfare and 4 MP´s from the Left wing Party for their stance om decriminalization of the personal use and DR Massimmo Barra president of the Red-cross standing committe and chairman of the Italian Red-cross for his engagement in harm reduction and human rights for IDU:s.
SBF currently has local branches in Stockholm, Göteborg, Halmstad, Kalmar, Skåne, Dalarna, Örebro, Umeå, Göteborg. SDUU also has a parent section and a Friends of SDUU. 
Some major points.

  • Make clear distinctions between prevention, organized crime, and harm reduction. With these clear distinctions it is possible to avoid irrelevances in the work with the issue. Police should fight crime, social services care for help seekers, and treatment must be based on policies for best practices based on drug users own experience, science and research. Perspectives and experiences should be drawn from of users and professionals in the field. The cooperation in between these fields can create the best policy.
  • Combat any care ideology
  • Combat the stigmatization that drug users encounter every day.
  • A change of focus from preservation of dogma to preservation of the right to life and health. The focus must change from a drug policy based on the no-narcotics and total abstinence of drugs, to a non harmful policy that holds a goal that preserves rights, dignity and respect for individuals.
  • Legislative evaluations and steps for change. Sweden needs to identify and make haste to change legislation that increase and inflict harm on the individual level, as well on society. One of the most conflicting laws concern the use of drugs, that says it is illegal to use and to have drugs in your body. This is a major cause of hindrance for harm reduction to be implemented at any level. The law on personal use also creates cases that is in conflict with the human right article 12: the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
  • NARKO – An Ombudsman for drug users. Sweden is a progressive state where an ombudsman for various group of interests is seen as an important instance for upholding Swedish and international law and intentions in regards to authorities. This should be as important concerning drug users, because they are often in situations where their rights are abused or overlooked, for example in cases when they are denied or get thrown out of treatment.
  • A harm reduction coordinator – Instead of demanding even more cooperation between organizations there should be a coordinator that can gather the overall need for information, joint ventures and projects, that can also initiate projects and evaluate these before making recommendations.