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Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday

Danish teens cycling drunk and losing control, the party hoping to decriminalise drugs, and teen cannabis dealers in Christiania are among the top news stories in Denmark on Monday.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Monday
Christiania is at the center of a movement to decriminalise drugs. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

One in three Danish teens bike so drunk they lose control 

Nearly thirty percent of Danish teens age 16-19 admit to riding their bike “even if they were so drunk that they had difficulty steering,”  according to research by the Danish Road Safety Council (Rådet for Sikker Trafik) and reported by newswire Ritzau. 

“We are well aware that we cannot get all young people to stop cycling after drinking alcohol. But we want to stop those who are most drunk,” Morten Wehner of the Danish Road Safety Council wrote in a press release. 

Doctors at Rigshospitalet, Denmark’s largest hospital, say they’re woefully familiar with the dangers cycling drunk poses to young people. 

“They risk serious injuries, such as skull fractures or bleeding in the brain, which can cost them their health or, in the worst case, their lives,” Emily Øberg, a trauma manager at Rigshospitalet, wrote. “They can have internal bleeding, which can also be life-threatening and require emergency surgery.” 

READ MORE: ‘The Vikings also wore helmets’: Danes draw on marauding past for cycle safety ad

Young cannabis dealers in Christiania worry residents 

Residents of Christiania, the autonomous commune in downtown Copenhagen, say they’re as alarmed as police are to see teenage drug dealers on their streets — but insist it can’t fall to members of the public in Christiania to police their neighbours. 

Between September 1st to November 21st alone, 17 minors were charged with selling euphoric drugs in Christiania, newspaper Berlingske reports. 

“Previously, Christianites would have intervened and shouted at them, but now we can see that 15-16-year-olds are behind the stalls, without anything happening,” Copenhagen police inspector Tommy Laursen told Berlingske. 

Hulda Mader, a Christiania spokesperson, says responsibility falls squarely on Copenhagen police — “the intensive efforts made by the police last year [to increase criminalisation of cannabis, ed.]  have meant that the cannabis market has gone from bad to worse,” she said to Berlingske. 

As Mader describes it, “more humane and decent pushers” have been supplanted by gangs. “It is a societal problem and not a Christiania problem.” 

“I don’t know what other neighbourhoods in the country ask people to go out and try to make sure that crime doesn’t happen. You don’t do that,” Mader added. 

Moderates push to decriminalise drugs for personal use

Centrist party the Moderates (Moderaterne) have announced a desire to decriminalise drugs for personal use and refocus police efforts on dealers, Berlingske reports.

 “Criminalisation is stigmatisation, which means that the stigmatised go under society’s radar and do not seek help,” Moderate member of parliament Nanna Gotfredsen told Berlingske. “This entails the risk of all kinds of diseases, amputations of arms and legs, overdoses and so on.” 

Under Danish law, drug use is not directly criminal, but it is a crime to possess drugs, regardless of whether it is for personal use or because you intend to sell them to others, Ritzau writes.

READ MORE: Five laws foreigners in Denmark are bound to break 

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For members


Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Danish defence minister takes leave to 'unplug', antibiotic recalled, online store reaches union deal, and rail staff report abuse. Here's some of the latest news from Denmark.

Today in Denmark: A roundup of the news on Tuesday

Denmark’s new defence minister on sick leave to ‘unplug’

Denmark’s Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen on Monday said he was taking sick leave for an undetermined period, hardly two months after a new government took power.

The 49-year-old said he was admitted briefly to hospital last week for “nausea”, just after returning from Ukraine.

“I was eager to go back to work immediately. But now that it’s been a few days I have to realise I’m not ready for this,” he said on Facebook.  “I have been unusually busy for a long time. Now my body is sending me a signal that it’s time to take a break, if not it’s going to end badly,” he said.

“The bottom line is that, on the advice of my doctor, I need to unplug for a while and take leave. And then I will return when I’m ready.”

Economy Minister Troels Lund Poulsen will fill in for Ellemann-Jensen during his absence, the government said.

His absence comes as Danes protest against government plans to abolish a public holiday to help fund the defence budget amid the war in Ukraine.

Danish vocab: orlov – furlough/leave

Danish medicines authority recalls antibiotic used by 35,000 people

The Danish Medicines Agency, Lægemiddelstyrelsen, said on Monday that persons using the antibiotic medicine Dicillin, produced by Sandoz, should return it to pharmacies to be replaced.

The medicines authority issued the instructions in a press statement on Monday after multi-resistant bacteria known as CPO were detected in nine cases in patients who have taken the antibiotic.

The nine cases were detected over a four-month period.

Around 35,000 people in Denmark were prescribed the antibiotic between September and December last year, according to the Danish Patient Data Authority (Sundhedsdatastyrelsen).

Danish vocab: en tilbagekaldelse – a recall

Danish online store agrees long-awaited union deal with drivers

Danish online supermarket has reached an agreement for working terms for its drivers with the trade union 3F Transport.

The two sides confirmed the new agreement in a statement on Monday.

Nemlig grew considerably as a business during the Covid-19 pandemic as large numbers of supermarket customers chose to have their groceries delivered instead of going to physical stores.

But the online supermarket has courted controversy over reports its parent company Intervare undepaid drivers.

Under the new agreement, Nemlig will be able to hire its own drivers. The company said in the statement that it will implement new terms for existing subcontracted drivers under the same conditions.

Danish vocab: en overenskomst – an agreement

Danish rail staff report high incidence of abuse at work

Staff on board Denmark’s trains are subjected to both physical and verbal abuse when at work, rail employees said in a survey.

In the survey, conducted by the trade union for rail workers Dansk Jernbaneforbund, one in five rail staff said they had received physical abuse at work at some point during the last three months.

Almost 80 percent meanwhile said they had received verbal abuse during the last three months.

Some 415 rail workers took part in the survey.

The abuse is most likely to occur when staff check the validity of passengers’ tickets.

Danish vocab: togansatte – rail workers