Adopted in 2012, Croatia’s National Strategy on Combating Drug Abuse (2012-17) addresses problems associated with illicit drugs. It seeks to reduce both the demand for and the supply of drugs in society, while protecting the health of individuals, families and communities through an integrated and balanced approach to drug problems. This overarching vision is expressed in four main objectives and the strategy is built around the two pillars of demand and supply reduction and the three cross-disciplinary areas of (i) information, research, monitoring and evaluation; (ii) coordination; and (iii) international cooperation. While the strategy is primarily concerned with illicit drugs, prevention programmes also focus on licit substances (e.g. alcohol, tobacco and prescription medications) and other addictions (e.g. gambling and the internet); supply reduction activities also address performance-enhancing substances, as well as drug precursors, illicit drugs and new psychoactive substances. The strategy is implemented through two consecutive three-year action plans (2012-14 and 2015-17).
As in other European countries, Croatia evaluates its drug policy and strategy through ongoing indicator monitoring and specific research projects. An internal/external mixed method evaluation of the National Strategy on Combating Narcotic Drugs Abuse in the Republic of Croatia 2012-17 was undertaken in 2017 and the results of this evaluation are being used to develop the new strategy for the period after 2017.
The Commission for Combating Drug Abuse of the Government of the Republic of Croatia is composed of members of all the relevant ministries and is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, who is responsible for social issues and human rights. The Commission develops drug policy and coordinates the activities of the ministries and other organisations involved in the implementation of the national drug strategy at the political level. It also adopts annual programmes of action in this field. The Office for Combating Drug Abuse is a specialised government service that deals with the day-to-day implementation and monitoring of the national drug strategy. It monitors the drug situation in Croatia and proposes measures to address drug-related issues. Attached to the Office for Combating Drug Abuse, the Expert Council comprises experts from different fields (prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, policing and law) and a president appointed by the Director of the Office, and is tasked with supporting decision-making at the Office for Combating Drug Abuse. Established in 2004 and 2005, the County Committees for Combating Drug Abuse coordinate the implementation of the drug strategy at a local level.