BACKGROUND This article examines the political formulation and ideological solution of the Swedish drug problem in 1982-2000. How was the drug problem described in the Swedish parliament at the time? How serious was the problem and what solutions were proposed? What were the ideological implications of the problem description, and how was the general political and ideological solution formulated? METHODS The empirical basis for the textual analysis consists of parliamentary bills, government bills and parliamentary records discussing the drug issue during the years 1982-2000. RESULTS In the prevailing spirit of consensus in the Swedish parliament at the time, both left-wing and right-wing parties portrayed drugs as a threat to the nation, people and the welfare state. Still, as the ideological dimension kept growing stronger, the drug question functioned even better as an arena for political discussions and ideological positions than in the 1970s. CONCLUSION Compared to previous decades, the problem description broadened during the 1980s and 1990s, and the drug problem could be used to support arguments on almost any topic. The drug problem became a highly politicized issue about whom or what to change when the individual and the society clashed, but also about what the individual and/or society should be changed into.