Norway’s drug policy objectives are set out in the 2012 government white paper ‘See me! A comprehensive drugs and alcohol policy’, which covers alcohol, illicit drugs, addictive medications and doping. These substances are addressed through five areas: (i) prevention and early intervention; (ii) coordination — services working together; (iii) greater competence and better quality services; (iv) help for those with severe drug dependence — reducing the number of overdose fatalities; and (v) efforts aimed at next of kin and at reducing harm to third parties. The Norwegian drug prevention policy is based on the fundamental principle of the inclusive society, in which health promotion and prevention principles are embedded in all areas of society and priority is given to early interventions. This policy manifests as restrictions on alcohol consumption, combating drugs through prohibition and targeting drug trafficking and organised crime. Further development of access to opioid substitution treatment (OST) and the reduction of open drug scenes are also set out in the paper. The objectives of the 2012 white paper have been supported and elaborated by subsequent government white papers and strategies, which have a more targeted focus. These include the prevention-focused 2014 public health white paper ‘Coping and opportunities’, the National Overdose Strategy (2014-17) and the Action Plan for Alcohol and Drug Field (2016-20).
Like other European countries, Norway evaluates its drug policy and strategy through ongoing indicator monitoring and specific research projects. A final internal evaluation of the Action Plan for the Drugs and Alcohol Field (2007-12) was completed in 2012. It found that nearly all of the 147 measures outlined in the plan had been undertaken.
The Ministry of Health and Care Services is responsible for the strategic and operational coordination of alcohol and drug policy, while each ministry is responsible for the areas falling within its own remit. The Directorate of Health is responsible for the overall day-to-day coordination of alcohol and drug policy and is the government’s primary adviser on health and social affairs matters. It is responsible for coordinating national prevention efforts and ensuring that health and social affairs policies are adopted and implemented in accordance with the Ministry’s guidelines. The municipalities are responsible for drug prevention and care services for drug users. Four regional health authorities are responsible for providing the necessary specialist health services to the population in their regions. Seven regional drug and alcohol competence centres are responsible for carrying out a broad range of activities. Their main tasks are to stimulate the advancement of substance use prevention in the municipalities.
Focus of national drug strategy documents: illicit drugs or broader
NBYear of data 2015. Strategies with broader focus may include, for example, licit drugs and other addictions.
A final internal evaluation of the Action Plan for the Drugs and Alcohol Field (2007-12) was completed in 2012. It found that nearly all of the 147 measures in the plan had been undertaken