Czech Republic country overview

Czech Republic country overview

Map of Czech Republic

About NFP: 

The national focal point was established as the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in 2002, within the structure of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic, Secretariat of the Council of the Government for Drug Policy Coordination. The main objectives of the national focal point are to monitor the situation in the field of use of psychotropic substances, prepare documentation for evidence-based decision-making at the national and European level and evaluate the efficiency of such actions. In 2014, in line with the goals of the integrated drug policy, the national focal point became responsible for data collection and analysis in the field of gambling and was renamed the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction.

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Last updated: Thursday, May 19, 2016

Drug use among the general population and young people

Content for prevalence: 

In 2012 the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction in association with the SC&C agency implemented the National Survey on Substance Use. A total of 2 134 respondents aged 15–64 were selected using a representative household sample. A previous general population survey using similar methodology was carried out in 2008. In addition to the general population surveys, an omnibus survey has been carried out annually since 2011. The latest omnibus survey took place in December 2014 with a sample of 1 020 respondents aged 15 and over (of which 870 respondents were aged 15–64).

The surveys carried out in recent years indicate that drug use has been fairly stable, with cannabis the most frequently used illicit substance. In 2014 some 28.7 % of respondents indicated ever having used cannabis, while among young adults (aged 15–34) the lifetime prevalence rate was 44.9 %. Some 11.4 % of respondents had used cannabis in the last 12 months and 3.8 % in the last 30 days. The highest prevalence rates for cannabis use in the last 12 months and last 30 days were among respondents aged 15–24. Thus 26.8 % of 15- to 24-year-olds had used cannabis at least once in the last 12 months, while 9.1 % had used it in the last 30 days. The prevalence of use of other illicit substances was significantly lower; in 2014 lifetime use of ecstasy was reported by 6.0 % of respondents, while 4.3 % reported use of magic mushrooms, 2.6 % reported pervitin (methamphetamine) use, and the use of other illicit substances was below 1.0 %. Last year prevalence of ecstasy use reached 1.6 %, and the use of other illicit substances in the last year was almost zero. The use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) (either synthetic or herbal) was reported by 1.3 % of adults in 2014. The peak of NPS use was observed in 2011 and later stabilised on lower levels. Illicit substance use has remained higher among males, and was relatively frequent among the teenage population.

The most recent Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study among 15-year-old students, conducted in 2014, reported 23.0 % lifetime prevalence of cannabis use among females and males, which is lower than was reported by a similar study in 2010 (31.0 %). This decline is in line with previous 2007 and 2011 ESPAD study findings, which also indicate a slight decline in cannabis use among 16-year-olds.

However, certain subgroups of children and teenagers have been at higher risk related to illicit psychoactive substance use. One of the subgroups covers clients of low-threshold centres for children and young people – their consumption of tobacco and alcohol is three times higher and their prevalence of cannabis use is almost twice as high compared to the general school population of the same age.

Look for Prevalence of drug use in the 'Statistical bulletin' for more information 


Content for prevention: 

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports provides methodological guidance and coordinates prevention activities in the Czech Republic within the scope of the National Strategy for the Primary Prevention of Risk Behaviour for 2013–18. The Methodical Recommendations for Primary Prevention of Risk Behaviours Among Children and Youth provides methodological guidance for the prevention activities. The regions play an increasingly important role in these activities and each region has established its own prevention plan since 2012, outlining the main priorities, the network of services, coordination and funding of activities. Substantial effort has been made in recent years to enhance the quality of primary prevention programmes by standardisation, certification and training, and sharing experience and best practice. The Czech Republic has introduced Europe’s first accreditation system, under which funding from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports is available only to certified programmes, and only accredited professionals are entitled to carry out prevention programmes. A number of methodological documents setting the professional competency standards for providers of school-based primary prevention, along with their certification rules and on-site inspection guidelines, were finalised in 2012. In 2012 the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports introduced the new certification system, and the Certification Office of the National Institute for Education was (re)opened in 2013. Applying for the certificate is a precondition of participation in certain government subsidy proceedings. A new online data monitor system of school prevention activities has also recently been piloted.

Universal prevention activities in school settings are guided by the Minimum Preventive Programme, including recommendations for lessons and class activities and a number of other guidance materials developed in 2011–12. The programme addresses a broad range of risk behaviours, including social problems such as truancy, bullying, racism, xenophobia, hooliganism, crime and the use of addictive substances.

The European Union Drug Abuse Prevention (EU-Dap) pilot project, Unplugged, was piloted in the Czech Republic between 2006–10. Following a thorough evaluation, which indicated a statistically significant reduction in recent tobacco use and a reduction in experimentation among its target audience (children aged 12–14), the programme was further scaled up. In 2013–14 Unplugged booster sessions were introduced in more than 70 schools, and their effectiveness was evaluated in 2015. In addition, the Unplugged Parents module was introduced in selected schools. A number of other methodological materials and pilot programmes addressing the role of families in the prevention of high-risk behaviours were introduced in 2012.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can also receive project-based funding to carry out additional prevention activities in schools and in the out-of-school environment, which comes from subsidy proceedings at the national level through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination.

A priority target audience for selective prevention activities is that of children and adolescents at risk of substance use, while local projects addressing high-risk families and children with attention and behavioural problems are also available. Selective prevention activities are mainly implemented by pedagogical and psychological counselling centres that carry out special programmes for schools or classes at risk, or are operated by NGOs. Apart from a wide network of special centres for children and youth at risk, a new project, Streetwork Online, was initiated in 2012. It applies the basic principles of low-threshold services such as free-time activities, safe environment, prevention and contact with the internet environment and social media.

Indicated prevention programmes are rare and mainly target adolescents who experiment with psychoactive substances, or their families. One notable exception is the implementation of Preventure, an indicated prevention programme targeting sensation seeking and focusing on alcohol and substance use, truancy, depression and anxiety. Some interventions to reduce the risk of drug use in recreational settings have also been implemented, but remain limited.

See the Prevention profile for the Czech Republic for more information. 

Problem drug use

Content for problem drug use: 

Up to 2012 the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) defined problem drug use as injecting drug use or long duration/regular use of opiates, cocaine and/or amphetamines. However, in 2012 a new definition of ‘high-risk drug use’ was adopted. The new definition includes ‘problem drug use’, but is broader (mainly in its inclusion of high-risk use of more substances). Details are available here.

The multiplier method, based on data from low-threshold centres and outreach programmes, is used to estimate the size of high-risk drug-use populations in the Czech Republic, and indicates an increase in the number of users of stimulants and opioids and of injecting drug users in 2014 when compared with previous years. Overall, in the last ten years the mean estimate of the number of high-risk drug users has risen by more than half. High-risk drug use is mainly linked to the use of home-made methamphetamine known locally as ‘pervitin’. In 2014 there were about 36 400 high-risk stimulant users (95 % confidence interval: 35 000–37 800), or 5.13 per 1 000 people aged 15–64 (95 % confidence interval: 4.94–5.33). The estimates have been increasing gradually in the last 11 years.

The estimated number of opioid users in 2014 was 11 300 (95 % confidence interval: 10 200–12 400), or 1.59 per 1 000 people aged 15–64 (95 % confidence interval: 1.43–1.76). The data suggest that of these, around 4 100 were heroin users and around 7 200 were buprenorphine users.

In 2014 the number of injecting drug users was estimated at 45 600 (95 % confidence interval: 43 200–48 000), or around 6.43 per 1 000 people aged 15–64 (95 % confidence interval: 6.10–6.77).

The prevalence of frequent cannabis users was estimated based on data from the 2012 National Survey on Substance Use, which suggested that about 0.3 % of 15- to 64-year-olds used cannabis daily or almost daily. According to the Cannabis Abuse Screening Test applied in the 2012 National Survey on Substance Use, the estimated number of high-risk cannabis users is around 79 000, while another 116 000 are estimated to be at moderate risk of cannabis use.

Look for High-risk drug-use in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Treatment demand

Content for treatment demand: 

The Czech Drug Information System collects data on clients entering drug treatment in Czech Republic. Until mid-2015 individual data were reported from treatment centres to regional hygiene services and then to the Hygienic Station of the Capital Prague (Drug Epidemiology Headquarters); from there data were sent to the national focal point. In 2014 preparations were made to transfer to an online electronic system of data collection; the electronic register is held by the Institute for Health Information and Statistics. It combines the Treatment Demand Register of inpatient and outpatient care data (Hygienic Station of the Capital Prague) and the register of substitution treatment, which is held by the Institute for Health Information and Statistics.

In 2014 a total of 84 outpatient and 44 inpatient treatment units and 66 low-threshold centres contributed to the current Treatment Demand Register.

A total of 10 108 drug users entered treatment in 2014, of whom 4 743 were new clients entering treatment for the first time. As in previous years, stimulants (mainly methamphetamine) were the most commonly reported primary substance used (7 038 of all treatment clients and 3 553 new treatment clients). This was followed by opioids, reported by 1 720 of all treatment clients. For new treatment clients, the second most commonly reported substance was cannabis; 776 new treatment clients entered treatment due to it in 2014. Injecting remained the primary mode of drug use, in particular among those who reported methamphetamine and opioids as their primary drug.

In 2014 the mean age of all treatment entrants was 29, while new treatment entrants were younger with an average age of 27. The long-term trend indicates a steady increase in the age of drug treatment clients. Approximately one-third of the clients in treatment were women; however, their proportion in treatment varies by types of programmes.

Look for Treatment demand indicator in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Drug-related infectious diseases

Content for drug-related infectious diseases: 

The rate of infection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HBC) among drug users has remained stable in recent years. Data are available from national registers and studies involving different drug user groups.

HIV seroprevalence rates among people who inject drugs (PWID) remained consistently below 1.0 % between 1996 and 2014 (0.2–0.3 % in 2014). The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases among the general population is relatively low and has remained stable. In 2014 the number of new HIV cases reported remained stable at 232 (235 in 2013), ten of which were reported as related to injecting drug use (compared to six in 2013).

The number of newly reported cases of acute HBV infection continued a declining trend, which is attributed to the routine vaccination introduced in 2001.

In 2014 two-thirds of newly reported HCV cases with a known transmission route were registered among PWID, which is similar to previous years. The HCV prevalence in the population of PWID indicates a downwards trend in the last five years, and in diagnostic testing of clients in low-threshold services ranged from 16.0 % in 2006 to 22.4 % in 2009. In 2010 the rate fell to 13.6 % among clients of low-threshold services, but subsequently increased slightly to 18.6 % 2012, while in 2014 it was 15.7 %. However, it is possible that the data from diagnostic testing may underestimate the HCV infection rates among PWID. The self-reported data from the Treatment Demand Register suggest that less than one-third of PWID in contact with the treatment system are HCV positive, with some indication of a stabilising trend over recent years.

The prevalence rates of HIV, HCV and HBV in general are higher among clients of opioid substitution treatment programmes and prisoners.

Look for Drug-related infectious diseases in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Drug-induced deaths and mortality

Content for drug-induced deaths: 

Drug-induced deaths in the Czech Republic are routinely monitored by means of a specialised register (Selection D), which covers 13 departments of forensic medicine and forensic toxicology, providing information on overdoses due to narcotic and psychotropic substances to the national focal point and also to the General Mortality Register (GMR —Selection B). Data extraction and reporting are in line with EMCDDA definitions and recommendations.

According to the drug-induced deaths standard (deaths caused by an acute intoxication of drugs) for special registries, 38 deaths (of which were 32 males) were recorded in 2012, which is an increase when compared to 2011 data (28 cases). All death cases were confirmed by toxicology. In 2012 opiates/opioids (heroin, methadone and buprenorphine) alone or in combination with other psychoactive substance were detected in 12 deaths, while methamphetamine was found to be a principal drug in 16 deaths. In 2012 the number of death cases attributed to inhalant use increased to 10, following a dramatic fall observed in 2011 (four cases).

According to data from the GMR, 35 drug-induced deaths (of which 27 were males) were reported in 2014. One-third of cases (14) were related to opioids and 10 were related to stimulants.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults aged 15–64 was 5.2 deaths per million, which is below the European average of 19.2 deaths per million.

Look for Drug-related deaths in the Statistical bulletin for more information. 

Treatment responses

Content for treatment responses: 

Treatment-related objectives in the National Drug Policy Strategy for 2010–18 and its Action Plan place emphasis on enhancing the availability and quality of addiction treatment services in the country. Addiction treatment and care services in the Czech Republic are funded by subsidies from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination (GCDPC), regional and municipal administrations and health insurance companies. An independent agency is responsible for the accreditation of drug treatment at clinics and inpatient facilities.

The treatment of dependence on psychoactive substances is understood as professional, focused, and structured work with a client with the objective of achieving abstinence or a reduction of drug use, reduction of the frequency and severity of relapses, and the involvement of clients in productive life in the family, work and society, thus maximising the quality of their life.

Addiction treatment is delivered through three different systems: (1) the network of low-threshold programmes and specialised outpatient and aftercare programmes and therapeutic communities (non-healthcare specific); (2) the network of specialised healthcare facilities that provide outpatient and inpatient services; and (3) outpatient smoking cessation programmes, which only target smokers.

Therapeutic communities generally have the status of social services, are operated by NGOs, and cater especially to users of illicit drugs other than alcohol, and exceptionally also to pathological gamblers.

The core of addiction treatment services is outpatient and outreach programmes (approximately 250–300), while 50–60 programmes provide residential inpatient care. Almost half of the facilities have valid professional competency certification from the GCDPC and 40 % of the facilities are registered as social services. Outpatient services are provided by outpatient psychiatric clinics and medical facilities, general practitioners and day-care centres. Opioid substitution treatment (OST), psychosocial support programmes and aftercare are available in these settings. Inpatient services are divided into short-term (four to eight weeks), medium-term (three to six months) and long-term (seven or more months) services and are provided by a network of psychiatric hospitals and hospital addiction treatment wards, and a network of therapeutic communities. Treatments available in inpatient settings include detoxification, residential abstinence-oriented treatment, residential care based on the therapeutic community principle, or targeting special groups such as adolescents, and aftercare programmes. However, there are large variations at district level in the geographical accessibility of different drug treatment programmes, with detoxification and specialised aftercare programmes being among the least available. These differences are attributed to a lack of appropriate healthcare facilities and a shortage of professionals willing to work with drug users. Addiction treatment is primarily delivered by public organisations and NGOs. It is also delivered, to a lesser extent, by private institutions, which provide three main treatment services: detoxification, outpatient care and inpatient care. NGOs mainly provide low-threshold outpatient care, and some of these programmes are accredited as healthcare facilities; 16 NGO-based therapeutic communities also provide long-term residential care for drug users. OST and outpatient and inpatient medical drug treatment are mainly financed through health insurance, whereas outpatient and inpatient psychosocial treatment is primarily funded by the public budget at national and regional/local levels. Six facilities offer specialised treatment programmes for children and adolescents.

A discussion on a psychiatric care reform strategy for 2014–2020, led by the Ministry of Health, is ongoing. The reform is based on a new concept of a network of specialised addiction treatment services adopted by the Committee of the Society for Addictive Diseases of the Czech Medical Association and aims to further shift the treatment system towards community-type care and introduce flexibility for service provision based on regional needs and priorities. A review of standards of the professional competency of drug services at the national level was completed in 2015, and a new document is currently in operation.

OST with methadone was introduced in the Czech Republic in 1998. Five substitution agents are available: methadone, three buprenorphine medications and a composite sublingual preparation that contains buprenorphine and naloxone. OST is delivered in specialised psychiatric facilities, and has also been available in prisons since 2009. In addition, any medical doctor, regardless of his/her speciality, may initiate buprenorphine-based OST. According to newly implemented aggregated reports and a survey on substitution treatment among physicians in the Czech Republic, it is estimated that substitution treatment was provided for approximately 4 000 clients in 2014, of which 17 % were on methadone and almost 83 % on buprenorphine-based medication.

See the Treatment profile for the Czech Republic for additional information. 

Harm reduction responses

Content for harm reduction responses: 

The National Drug Policy Strategy for 2010–18 endorses harm reduction as one of its four pillars, and defines the following priority areas: (i) development of new interventions; (ii) increase in the uptake of testing among injecting drug users; and (iii) definition of harm reduction guidelines for nightlife settings. The 2013–15 Action Plan introduced a number of new tasks, including scaling-up harm reduction programmes for hard-to-reach and socially excluded communities and issuing guidelines for infectious diseases testing by service providers. The 2013–17 National Programme for HIV/AIDS reiterates the focus on providing services to high-risk groups.

The network of low-threshold facilities, established in 1992, includes low-threshold centres (drop-in) and outreach programmes providing needle exchange in 105 units, three vending machines, and special street bins for the safe disposal of used needles. Needle and syringe programmes operate in all regions, providing a wide range of services: clean needles and syringes, condoms, voluntary counselling and testing for infectious diseases, risk reduction information, aluminium foil for heroin smoking and other services. The number of drug users in contact with these services has been increasing over the last 11 years, and it is estimated that in 2014 these centres reached around 40 300 individual drug users, mainly those who inject heroin, buprenorphine or methamphetamine, while an increase in the number of cannabis users seeking help from low-threshold services has also been noticed in recent years. The number of syringes distributed through needle and syringe programmes continues to increase, and reached more than 6.6 million in 2014. Besides needle and syringe programmes (drop-in and outreach work), pharmacy syringe sales are the main sources of sterile injecting material for people who inject drugs. Taking into account the high proportion of methamphetamine users among the problem drug use population, many harm reduction programmes distribute gelatine capsules as an oral alternative to the injecting of methamphetamine.

Treatment for HCV is available to PWID in 39 clinics across the Czech Republic, including those in prisons.

See the Harm reduction overview for the Czech Republic for additional information. 

Drug markets and drug-law offences

Content for Drug markets and drug-law offences: 

Cannabis is the most frequently seized drug, and domestic production of marijuana has been on the increase. It is grown in both natural and artificial conditions and, with increasing frequency, on a large scale and also for export, predominantly to neighbouring countries. However, cultivated cannabis is mainly intended for the domestic market. Quantities of seized marijuana continued to increase until 2013 up to 735.36 kg, while in 2014 a total of 569.56 kg of substance was seized by the Czech law enforcement agencies. In addition, 301 cannabis cultivation sites were detected, and the number of cannabis plants seized increased when compared to 2013 (73 639 plants in 2013 and 77 685 plants in 2014). Low-volume home-based cultivation sites (6–49 plants) account for 40 % of all cultivation sites. Large-scale cannabis cultivation and distribution has become more specialised in recent years, and it has contributed to the establishment of highly organised criminal groups, mainly of Vietnamese descent, which are sometimes also involved in the sale of pervitin.

In 2014 methamphetamine (pervitin) was involved in 1 173 seizures (there was also one seizure of liquid methamphetamine). It is primarily produced for the domestic market, while data indicate it is also exported to border regions of Germany, Austria and Poland. The quantity of pervitin seized increased from around 3.8 kg in 2008 to a record 69.14 kg seized in 2013, while 50.24 kg of the substance was seized in 2014. Medicines containing pseudoephedrine are the main precursor of methamphetamine. Restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine-containing medication were introduced in 2009, which was followed by a significant rise in the illegal import of such medication from neighbouring countries, mainly from Poland. Production of pervitin predominantly takes place in low-volume home-based laboratories, which allows them to be easily relocated to avoid detection, although an increase in the proportion of high-volume laboratories has been noted in recent years. In 2014 a total of 272 pervitin laboratories were detected.

Heroin reaches the Czech Republic mainly through the Balkan route, and is imported in small shipments. In 2014 a total of 65 heroin seizures were reported and a record amount of 156.81 kg of heroin was seized. In 2013–14 buprenorphine-containing medication, fentanyl patches and morphine-based analgesics were also seized from the illicit market, indicating the replacement of low-quality heroin in the market. However, in 2014 the first case of high-purity heroin production from opium poppy and a morphine based analgesic was reported.

In 2014 a record 144 seizures of cocaine were reported, while the amount seized was only 5.4 kg, which is seven times less than was reported for the preceding year (35.79 kg). Cocaine mostly enters the Czech Republic from the Netherlands by couriers and in postal consignments. Ecstasy is not produced domestically, and is mainly imported from the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia. In 2014 the number of ecstasy seizures continued to increase up to 119 (in comparison with 12–30 seizures in the period 2007–12), while the amount seized fell to 1 338 tablets (5 061 tablets seized in 2013 and 1 782 tablets in 2012), and remains below the amounts reported in 2011 and 2007–08.

Synthetic cathinones (five seizures), arylcyclohexylamines (seven seizures) and phenethylamines (eight seizures) represent the largest proportion of new psychoactive substances seized in the Czech Republic.

In 2014 a total of 7 438 drug-law offences were reported, including criminal and administrative offences. A total of 3 925 people were arrested for drug-related crimes. The highest number of people were arrested in connection with methamphetamine, followed by those who were arrested in connection with cannabis. Although supply-related offences exceed those related to use, data from 2004–14 show that the proportion of use-related offences (both criminal and administrative offences) has increased, from 30.0 % in 2004 to 38.1 % in 2014.

Look for Drug law offences in the Statistical bulletin for additional data. 

National drug laws

Content for National drug laws: 

The Penal Code, valid since 2010 (Act No. 40/2009), is the major act concerning drug-related offences. The Penal Code regulates several aspects of drug-related offences, such as drug trafficking, unauthorised possession of drugs, conditions of prosecution, diversion of prosecution, types of penalties, etc. Licit handling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and precursors is subject to regulation according to the Addictive Substances Act (Act No. 167/1998).

Drug use is not an offence in the Czech Republic, and possession of small quantities for personal use is a non-criminal offence under the Act of Violations, punishable by a fine of up to CZK 15 000 (EUR 550). The new Penal Code introduced a distinction between cannabis and other drugs for criminal personal possession offences, whereby possession of a quantity of cannabis ‘greater than small’ would attract a sentence of up to one year, but for other substances sentences of up to two years’ imprisonment were possible (or up to 2–8 years if the quantity of drugs is ‘significant’). Also, two governmental regulations fixed threshold quantities with which to determine whether an offence was administrative or criminal — these had previously been set in non-binding prosecutor and police directives. However, in 2013 these governmental regulations were annulled by the Constitutional Court, which reiterated that only the Parliament may ‘define’ a criminal offence. In March 2014 the Supreme Court interpreted ‘quantities greater than small’ as being in ‘manifold excess of a normal dose’ and adopted all the quantity limits from the annulled governmental regulations except for cannabis and methamphetamine, where it decreased (tightened) the limits.

Penalties for drug supply are from 1–5 years to 10–18 years of imprisonment, depending on various specified aggravating circumstances. In the case of addicts committing a drug-related crime, a range of alternatives to imprisonment is available to the court (e.g. suspended sentences, community service and probation with treatment). Secure detention with compulsory treatment is a possible response to addicts who are deemed to be socially dangerous, and is also an option for juvenile delinquents.

In 2009 a new category of medicines was created to restrict sales of non-prescription medicines, such as those containing pseudoephedrine (a precursor for producing methamphetamine).

Following the amendments of several Government Acts (on Pharmaceuticals, on Addictive Substances and on Administrative Fees), the use of cannabis for therapeutic purposes has been allowed in the Czech Republic since 1 April 2013, while provision allowing the cultivation and supply of medicinal cannabis (through a licencing procedure) came into force from 1 March 2014.

From January 2014 the list of controlled substances is no longer included in the Act on Addictive Substances, but in a Government Regulation. This should facilitate more rapid control of new substances in future.

Go to the European Legal Database on Drugs (ELDD) for additional information. 

National drug strategy

Content for National drug strategy: 

Originally focused solely on illicit drugs, the May 2010 National Drug Policy Strategy for 2010–18 was revised in December 2014 to address alcohol and gambling also, in a new integrated policy. The revision reflects the need to address the adverse health and social consequences of alcohol consumption, and the negative impact of problem gambling. The strategy is comprehensive and is based on four pillars: prevention; treatment and re-socialisation; risk reduction; and supply reduction. It is complemented by three supporting domains: coordination and funding; monitoring, research and evaluation; and international cooperation.

In the area of illegal drugs the strategy defines four key objectives: (i) to reduce the level of experimental and occasional drug use, particularly among young people; (ii) to reduce the level of problem and intensive drug use; (iii) to reduce potential drug-related risks to individuals and society; and (iv) to reduce drug availability, particularly to young people.

In the area of alcohol the strategy defines four key objectives: (i) to increase awareness of the extent and nature of the health, social and economic problems caused by harmful alcohol use and ensure the availability of effective preventive measures; (ii) to increase the availability of effective treatment interventions to reduce and prevent the health consequences caused by alcohol consumption; (iii) to reduce harms from alcohol use and its negative impact on the physical and mental health of the population, public security and work performance, and on at-risk groups (risk regions/locations, the homeless, the elderly, pregnant women); (iv) to reduce the availability of alcohol, particularly to children and adolescents, and to positively modify environmental factors.

In the area of gambling the strategy defines four key objectives: (i) to increase awareness of the nature and risks of problem gambling in the general population, to support the principles of so-called ‘responsible gambling’ and to ensure the availability of effective preventive measures; (ii) to reduce the extent of problem gambling and related economic, social and health impacts and to increase the availability of effective treatment interventions; (iii) to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling to physical and mental health, the safety and property of individuals, and communities and society; (iv) to improve the regulation of gambling and to implement measures to reduce the development of problem gambling.

The implementation of the strategy is supported by a series of consecutive three-year Action Plans. In 2015 the new Action Plan for the Field of Gambling for 2015–2018, the Action Plan for the Reduction of Harms Caused by Alcohol in the Czech Republic for 2015–2018 and the Action Plan for Tobacco Control for 2015–2018 were approved by the government of the Czech Republic. A new illicit drug action plan covering the years 2016–2018 is currently pending approval by the Government.

Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

Content for Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs: 

The Government Council for Drug Policy Coordination (GCDPC) is responsible at the political level for the overall implementation of the national drug strategy. It is the Government’s main initiating, counselling and coordinating body for drug issues. The GCDPC’s scope was expanded following the revision of the drugs strategy and it now addresses alcohol and gambling issues alongside illicit drug issues. Presided over by the Prime Minister, the GCDPC includes all Ministries involved in the delivery of the national drug policy, a representative from the Czech Association of Addictologists, and three representatives of civil society including a representative of the regions (the Association for Addictive Diseases of the Czech Medical Association; an association of NGOs dealing with drug prevention and treatment; and the Association of the Regions). In addition, its Secretariat ensures the day-to-day implementation of the strategy and the coordination of the respective Ministries’ activities. The Secretariat is part of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and also includes the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction (the national focal point), which is responsible for the collection, analysis and distribution of drug-related data. A system of committees and working groups also operates within the coordination system.

A network of 14 regional coordinators manages drug-related activities (including the implementation of the national drug policy) at the regional and local levels. However, their competencies vary from region to region. Each region also draws up and implements its own strategies and plans on drug-related measures, and the extent of such plans and strategies also varies between regions. Dedicated Drug Policy Commissions exist in eight regions, with drug issues addressed by commissions with a broader remit in three other regions, while three further regions use working groups to manage drug policy. At the local level, drug coordinators have been installed in nearly 200 municipalities, most of which have so-called ‘extended competency’, and in the 22 districts of Prague city.

Public expenditure

Content for Public expenditure: 

In the Czech Republic, the Government has presented annual drug-related budgets, announcing planned labelled expenditures (1,2), since 2002. Additionally, it provides an estimate of the money effectively spent. Estimates are based on a well-defined methodology, but data completeness has changed over time. Between 2007 and 2010 unlabelled expenditures were also estimated, applying a comparable methodology (3). Since 2010 only labelled expenditure has been reported.

In 2010 the total drug-related public expenditures represented 0.06 % of gross domestic product (GDP). About 72.1 % were unlabelled expenditures, of which about 71.6 % were for supply reduction activities and the remaining for demand reduction (inpatient healthcare and medication received the largest shares). Labelled expenditures, which represented about 27.9 % of the total expenditures, had a different distribution: 76.2 % were for demand reduction and 23.8 % for supply reduction activities.

Trend analysis can only be based on labelled expenditure, and over the 2005–14 period this expenditure remained stable as a percentage of GDP (range: 0.015–0.017 % of GDP), but grew in nominal terms. The exceptions were 2009 and 2011, when total labelled expenditure declined, probably due to public austerity measures associated with the 2008 economic recession. However, in 2012 total labelled expenditure reached a level identical to that of 2008, in nominal terms. In 2014 labelled expenditure represented 0.016 % of GDP. in nominal terms

Table 1: Total drug-related public expenditure, 2010


Expenditure (thousand EUR)

% (c)


Labelled public expenditures (a)

24 807


Supply reduction

5 906


Demand reduction

18 901





Unlabelled public expenditures (b)

63 968


Supply reduction

45 800


Demand reduction

18 168






88 775


Supply reduction

51 706


Demand reduction

37 069


% of GDP

0.06 %


(a) Source: National Annual report of Czech Republic (2012).
(b) Source: Vopravil, J. and Rossi, C. (2013), ‘Illicit drug market and its economic impact’, Universitalia, Universitá di Roma, Rome, February.
(c) EMCDDA estimations.

(1) This budget is not directly linked to national policy documents.

(2) Some of the funds allocated by governments for expenditure on tasks related to drugs are identified as such in the budget (‘labelled’). Often, however, the bulk of drug-related expenditure is not identified (‘unlabelled’) and must be estimated by modelling approaches. The total budget is the sum of labelled and unlabelled drug-related expenditures.

(3) Vopravil, J. and Rossi, C. (2013), ‘Illicit drug market and its economic impact’, Universitalia, Universitá di Roma, Rome, February.

Drug-related research

Content for Drug-related research: 

The current National Drug Policy Strategy emphasises the role of research, evidence and evaluation of the measures taken in the drug policy field. The Action Plan 2013–15 underlined the principle of integrating legal and illegal drugs into one policy, and support for research in the field of drugs is mentioned explicitly as one of the tasks. The evidence-based approach is currently applied in the certification process of addiction services and in the provision and development of services. Several public administration bodies and grant agencies fund research in the field of drugs, which is mainly conducted by academic centres. The National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction coordinates the collaboration and exchange of information between research institutions, service providers and public administration bodies. It publishes an annual report on the state of the drugs problem in the Czech Republic, which summarises available data about drug use and its consequences. National scientific journals are also an important dissemination channel for drug-related research findings. In 2014 the Society for Addictive Diseases and the Czech Association of Addictologists jointly drafted and approved the 2014–20 Addiction Science and Research Strategy and the Code of Ethics for Addictologists. Recent drug-related studies have focused mainly on aspects related to prevalence, incidence and patterns of drug use, responses to the drug situation, supply and markets, and the consequences of drug use. Determinants of drug use were also mentioned.

See Drug-related research for more detailed information. 

Data sheet — key statistics on the drug situation

Content for Data sheet: 

        EU range      
  Year   Country data Min. Max.      
Problem opioid use (rate/1 000) 2014   1.59 0.2 10.7      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   17.0% 4% 90%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   7.0% 2% 89%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) 2014   29.3% 7% 52%      
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) 2014   EUR 38 EUR 23 EUR 140      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   1.0% 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   0.6% 0% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   0.2% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.3% 0% 38%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.3% 0% 40%      
Purity (%) 2014   25.9% 20% 64%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2014   EUR 72 EUR 47 EUR 107      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   2.0% 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   2.3% 0% 3%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   0.8% 0% 1%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   69.7% 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   75.1% 0% 75%      
Purity (%) 2012   13.2% 1% 49%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2013   EUR 63 EUR 3 EUR 63      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   3.0% 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   3.6% 0% 6%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   1.6% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.0% 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.1% 0% 2%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) 2014   42 mg 27 mg 131 mg      
Price per tablet (EUR) 2014   EUR 8 EUR 4 EUR 16      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   42.0% 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   23.9% 0% 24%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   11.4% 0% 11%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   11.8% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   16.4% 7% 77%      
Potency — herbal (%) 2014   8.2% 3% 15%      
Potency — resin (%) 2014   13.9% 3% 29%      
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) 2014   EUR 7 EUR 3 EUR 23      
Price per gram — resin (EUR) 2013   EUR 6 EUR 3 EUR 22      
Prevalence of problem drug use                
Problem drug use (rate/1 000) 2014   6.73 2.7 10.0      
Injecting drug use (rate/1 000) 2014   6.4 0.2 9.2      
Drug-related infectious diseases/deaths                
HIV infections newly diagnosed (cases / million) 2014   1.0 0.0 50.9      
HIV prevalence (%) 2014   0.2-0.3 0% 31%      
HCV prevalence (%) 2014   15.7% 15% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) 2014   5.2 2.4 113.2      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed 2014   6 610 788 382 7 199 660      
Clients in substitution treatment 2014   4 000 178 161 388      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2014   10 108 271 100 456      
New clients 2014   4 743 28 35 007      
All clients with known primary drug 2014   10 090 271 97 068      
New clients with known primary drug 2014   4 728 28 34 088      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences 2014   7 438 537 282 177      
Offences for use/possession 2014   2 836 13 398 422      

Key national figures and statistics

Content for Key national figures and statistics: 

b Break in time series.

e Estimated.

p Eurostat provisional value.

: Not available.

1 Gross domestic product (GDP) is a measure of economic activity. It is defined as the value of all goods and services produced less the value of any goods or services used in their creation. The volume index of GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) is expressed in relation to the European Union (EU-27) average set to equal 100. If the index of a country is higher than 100, this country's level of GDP per head is higher than the EU average and vice versa.

2  Expenditure on social protection contains: benefits, which consist of transfers in cash or in kind to households and individuals to relieve them of the burden of a defined set of risks or needs.

3 Unemployment rates represent unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force. Unemployed persons comprise persons aged 15 to 74 who were: (a) without work during the reference week; (b) currently available for work; (c) actively seeking work.

4 Situation of penal institutions on 1 September, 2014.

5 Share of persons aged 0+ with an equivalent disposable income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income (after social transfers).

Key figures
  Year   EU (28 countries) Source
Population  2014 10 512 419 506 944 075 bep Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2014  10.7 %  11.3 % bep Eurostat
25–49  37.1 %  34.7 % bep
50–64  19.8 %  19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2014 85 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2013 20.2 % : Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2015 5.1 %  9.4 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2015 20.3 % 12.6 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2014 177.5  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2014.1
At risk of poverty rate 5  2014 9.7 % 17.2 %  SILC

Contact information for our focal point

Address and contact: 

Secretariat of the Council of the Government for Drug Policy Coordination

Nabr. Edvarda Benese 4
118 01 Praha 1 – Malá Strana
Czech Republic
Tel. +420 296153222

Head of national focal point: Mr Viktor Mravcik, MD., Ph.D.

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