Humane or profane? - A qualitative study of the portrayal of harm reduction in Swedish

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Abstract: This thesis explores the term “harm reduction“ in the context of drug policy and strategies aswell as how the concept of harm reduction is potrayed in the Swedish printed media. Thisstudy is a qualitative document analysis with an explorative approach which analyses 15articles from three of Sweden´s top selling daily newspapers during a set period of 24 yearsspanning from 1992 to 2016. To analyze the empirical material, we have used a theoreticalapproach which consists of Framing theory and Social Control. The results show that Harmreduction is a term with a broad and varied description, often described loosely with little orno deeper description, thus making it hard to grasp or fully understand. Harm reduction isoften seen as synonymous with needle exchange programs or drug liberalization. Despiteharm reductions treatment methods in application in over 20 other European countriestogether with evidence of its benefits, Sweden still maintains it restrictive, zero toleranceapproach to narcotics policies with harsh punishments for users and addicts alike.

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