For a meeting that's supposed to be dictating the future of global drug policy, it started off on a weirdly twee note. Queen Silvia of Sweden took the podium, looking regal; her country has one of the most militant antidrug governments in Europe, with harsh penalties for addicts who don't clean themselves up. In fact, most end up crossing the ten-mile Oresund bridge to seek help in Denmark, a country that provides secure drug-consumption rooms to addicts, where they can take whatever they want safely, under supervision, without being arrested for possession.

Sweden’s government, like many other governments in attendence, hews to the unfaltering and somewhat optimistic belief that, one day, our planet will be free of all psychoactive drugs. Sweden, alongside the US and Japan, is also one of the major donors to the UNODC’s $575 million budget.

But never mind all that—Queen Silvia was here because she's the patron of a really nice children’s charity. She said she's not a political person seconds before saying that we must have a “zero-tolerance” policy on drugs, because “we cannot afford to lose our children… we need to save the children.” Really.




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