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Changing Control of the Open Drug Scenes in Oslo Crime, Welfare, Immigration Control, or a Combination?

NCJ Number
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: 2011 Pages: 128-152
Ida Nafstad
Date Published
25 pages
This article discusses the drug scene in Oslo, Norway.
Over the last few years there has been a societal move away from a perception of drug users as criminals to a perception of the users as sick. Contrary to what one may expect from such a change, reported drug crimes against the penal code are at record-high levels. It is the contradictory inherent in these tendencies that will be emphasized and highlighted in this article. The open drug scenes in Oslo and the police control of the scenes have changed. During the last few years there has been a growing element of foreign citizens in the drug scenes, and the police control has focused on the foreigners. Could part of the explanation of the contradictions be that there is a differentiation of how the different users are handled? Are there different forms of social control employed toward Norwegian and foreign actors in the open drug scenes? This article puts forward arguments that this is actually the case, driven by a consistent association of foreign actors in the drug scene with organized crime, and a stricter Norwegian legislation and approach to immigration questions, with a tendency toward a conflation of immigration and criminal law. (Published Abstract)