Svenska Brukarföreningen (SBF) / Sweden

Bridge building champions in a rejecting climate

Swedish Drug Users’ Union (SDUU), known in Swedish as Svenska Brukarföreningen (SBF) has become an example of an outstanding peer initiative. The organization was founded in 2002 by Berne Stålenkranz and Björn Hjerdin (counselor at a local methadone clinic), well aware of the difficulty to break through the moralistic climate. Stålenkranz: “We were fed up with the stigma and discrimination, and the lack of access for drug users to proper health systems. And with the lack of having any kind of peer organization that could represent active users. The existing agencies were consisting of family members of users, ex-users, but no active users. And all of them were speaking on our behalf. That’s a mistake: they are no users. We are users. So that’s why we organized ourselves.

And we took the motto from the Vancouver-declaration of the establishment of INPUD: ‘Nothing about us, without us’.”