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GHB and the Law in Sweden
by Rhodium
updated May 12, 2000

The first media exposure of GHB in Sweden appeared in February 1996, after a young woman from Gothenburg died from a combination of GHB, alcohol and ephedrine, and a few young men were found unconscious after combining GHB with alcohol. In March 1997, a 31-year-old man in the small town Harnosand was found dead after mixing GHB and alcohol, and a young boy was found unconscious in his high-school after consuming an unknown amount of gamma-butyrolactone, which in the paper was called "GHB with one molecule missing".

On June 1, 1997, GHB became regulated through being listed as a legal equivalent to prescription medicines together with GABA, DHEA and poppers, which doesn't mean it was placed into a schedule, but the new law made it illegal to import, sell or give away GHB without a license. Possession and manufacture was still technically legal under the new law, as long as it was for personal consumption.

In the fall of 1997, a clandestine lab was raided, and police found evidence of the manufacturing of 15 kilos of amphetamine and more than 50 kilos of GHB. In September 1998, a man was arrested for making GHB and poppers available via mail order, and shortly thereafter an apartment in Gothenburg was raided, where police confiscated 13.5 L of GHB. About a month later, the same apartment was again raided, this time 20 L GHB was found.

There were also several smaller seizures of GHB during 1998, and more often than not, it was returned to the owner if they were able to prove in court that the seized amount only was for personal consumption, which was still legal. The police now want to create a new law, making it possible for the government to outlaw any substance which can create euphoria, because current swedish law makes it only possible to schedule substances which can cause dependence, and/or are highly addictive, as long as the substance isn't reccommended by the United Nations to become scheduled.

May 12, 2000 update
February 1st, 2000 GHB was scheduled in Sweden. There have been a few arrests for GHB possession since then, but I have not heard of anyone recieving anything other than a fine equivalent to about $1000 for possession of a few hundred grams of GHB. Authorities claim that this far 5 deaths have been reported due to GHB use (in reality, all of these deaths also included the ingestion of excessive amounts of alcohol, and/or other drugs). These five deaths in Sweden amount to about 1/3 of the total number of all GHB related deaths in the European Union. This fact probably reflects the drug politics in Sweden rather than a higher incidence of GHB use compared to other European countries.