One in four 'on drugs' in Oslo's nightclubs
The people behind several of Oslo's biggest nightclubs want to collaborate with police to fight the drug problem in the capital.
In an op-ed in Aftenposten, 20 of the city's hot spots called for a joint initiative called ‘Clubs Against Drugs’ (Utesteder mot Narkotika), pointing to a similar initiative in the Swedish capital of Stockholm.
The op-ed called on nightclubs and police to work closely together to cut down the amount of drug use prevalent in the city’s night life.
The appeal came as a study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Folkehelseinstituttet - NIPH) found that the use of drugs was higher than expected. Through interviews and saliva tests, the institute discovered that every fourth person out on the town in Oslo had taken narcotics within the previous 48 hours.
One in four had recently used one or more illegal drug, with cocaine and cannabis leading the way.
“We were surprised – we have never seen such high numbers in a study before,” researcher Anne Line Bretteville-Jensen told broadcaster NRK.
In their Aftenposten op-ed, nightclub workers said that police often don’t take action when contacted about drug use, even when “users or sellers are caught red-handed”.
“Based on this it appears that the police see their role as controlling body, and thus leave the actual responsibility to the nightclubs. This is counter-productive,” they wrote.
Bretteville-Jensen of NIPH echoed the nightclubs’ call.
“In Norway we’ve long had a focus on cooperating with the night life industry when it comes to alcohol use, but we should also focus on illegal drugs,” she said.
She also pointed to Sweden, where nightclubs have taken actions including installing different lighting and removing toilet seats in an effort to minimize drug use.
“The guards and employees have been taught to recognize drug users. The experiences have been positive,” Bretteville-Jensen said.