SMADIT: Joint action against alcohol and drugs in traffic

One way to prevent alcohol and drug-related traffic accidents is through collaboration between the police, health care, and social services. This seminar explained a Swedish model for collaboration – SMADIT: Joint action against alcohol and drugs in traffic.

Sweden hosted the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety on 19–20 February 2020. The conference was co-sponsored by the World Health Organization. Minister-led delegations from more than 80 countries participated.

On 18 February 2020, a pre-event about Collaboration to prevent alcohol and drug-related traffic accidents was held in Stockholm.

Collaboration between societal functions

Alcohol consumption and drug use are strong risk factors for traffic accidents. The focus of this event was on Swedish initiatives based on local collaboration between law enforcement authorities, public health bodies, healthcare, and social services to prevent road accidents due to alcohol and drug use.

Contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals

Particular focus was on how these initiatives contribute to achieving the third Sustainable Development Goal of Good Health and Well-being:

  • 3.6: the target of halving traffic-related deaths and injuries
  • 3.5: the target of strengthening prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol

Issues addressed in the seminar

  • How can routines for testing abstinence from alcohol and drugs contribute to reducing road accidents?
  • How can the police and health authorities work together to enable evidence-based treatment?
  • How can legislation be used as a supportive tool in preventive work and how can it involve a family-oriented approach to protecting children?

The seminar was concluded with a study visit to the SMADIT facility, which is a combined police station and health care facility.

Study visit to the SMADIT facility

The seminar was concluded with a study visit to the SMADIT facility located in Stockholm. The SMADIT facility is a combined police station and medical facility. We were given the opportunity to go step by step through a scenario of what happens when the police bring in a person suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The SMADIT facility has a computer for writing reports, a breathalyser to determine the concentration of alcohol in the breath, and a bathroom for the possibility of obtaining urine samples.

The police first interrogate the suspect, and afterwards a nurse takes a blood sample and has a conversation with the suspect about any problems the person might have with alcohol or drugs. The police leave the room and the door is kept closed to enable a confidential conversation, but the police can see the nurse and the suspect through a glass window to make sure the situation is safe. The suspect is offered a health care contact the next day to begin treatment. Both the health service and the police also provide contact information for the free help lines available in Sweden for problems related to alcohol and drugs. Next to the SMADIT facility there is a health care facility for addiction treatment.

Swedish help lines to address alcohol or drug problems