According to the 2011-12 general population survey, cannabis was the most commonly used drug among the adult population aged 15-64 years in Slovenia. Other illicit substances were less common. Illicit drug use is concentrated among younger age groups and, in particular, among those aged 15-24 years. Use of illicit drugs is generally higher among males than females.
Around 0.6 % of Slovenian adults reported having ever used NPS. Nevertheless, data from other sources, including a recent web-based survey, indicate that the use of NPS alone or in combination with an established illicit substance may be more common among young people in recreational settings.
Estimates of last-year drug use among young adults (16-34 years) in Slovenia
NBEstimated last-year prevalence of drug use in 2015.
Substance use among 15- to 16- year-old school students in Slovenia
NBSource: ESPAD study 2015.
Drug use among students aged 15-16 years is reported in the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD). This survey has been carried out in Slovenia since 1995 and the most recent survey was in 2015. Slovenian students reported lifetime cannabis use that is above the ESPAD average (based on data from 35 countries), while lifetime use of illicit drugs other than cannabis and lifetime use of NPS were either very close to or the same as the ESPAD averages. Trend analysis indicates that experimentation with cannabis increased markedly among 15- to 16- year-old students between 1995 and 2003, decreased in 2007 and increased again in 2011 and 2015, according to surveys.
Studies reporting estimates of high-risk use can help to identify the extent of the more entrenched drug use problems, while data on the first-time entrants to specialised drug treatment centres, when considered alongside other indicators, can inform understanding on the nature and trends in high-risk drug use.
The estimated number of high-risk opioid users has remained stable in recent years; the total number was estimated to be around 5 000 in 2014.
Data from specialised treatment centres in Slovenia indicate that, in 2015, new treatment entries attributable to illicit drug use were reduced. Moreover, new treatment entries attributable to primary heroin use have decreased significantly in the last five years (Figure 6). Although heroin remains the principal opioid drug used in Slovenia, reports from harm reduction programmes indicate some change in the drug use profile among clients, suggesting that heroin has been replaced by other substances, such as stimulants, medicines and NPS, all of which may be injected. However, in general, drug injecting has been declining among treatment clients. Moreover, a shift towards other administration routes, such as sniffing, smoking or oral use of opioids, has been reported. Around 50 % of those new to treatment use drugs by sniffing.
In general, the ageing of the population of drug users is also noted in Slovenia, which presents new issues, such as increased social problems, including homelessness, and a higher frequency of acute and chronic illnesses. The number of females in treatment varies by type of drug and treatment programme.
The estimated number of high-risk opioid users has remained stable in recent years
National estimates of last year prevalence of high-risk opioid use
NBYear of data 2015, or latest available year..
Characteristics and trends of drug users entering specialised drug treatment in Slovenia
NBYear of data 2015. Data is for first-time entrants, except for gender which is for all treatment entrants.