Denmark Country Drug Report 2018

Drug markets

Cannabis products, cocaine and amphetamines are the most prevalent drugs in the Danish illicit drug market. The market is highly structured and is regulated by domestic organised crime groups and gangs (except for heroin and new psychoactive substances (NPS)).

Cannabis remains the most frequently seized drug in Denmark and, in the last two consecutive years, record numbers of cannabis resin seizures for the last 16 years have been reported. Morocco continues to be the primary producing country for the cannabis resin that reaches the Danish market. Domestic production of cannabis resin has been reported, albeit on a very small scale, based on few seizures of ‘home-made’ resin. In recent years, there has been a moderate increase in reported indoor cultivation and investigations indicate that most of the herbal cannabis seized is from domestic cultivation. In some cases, distribution of cannabis grown in Denmark to neighbouring countries, such as Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, has been documented.

In 2016, cocaine was the second most frequently seized substance in Denmark, with the majority of seizures made at the retail level. Cocaine seized in Denmark originates from South America and is trafficked into the country via the Netherlands, Spain and the Balkans by land, or, on a lesser scale, by air via West Africa. However, it has increasingly been reported that cocaine has been trafficked directly from producer countries by sea or air. The available information suggests that some of the cocaine seized in Denmark is intended for distribution to other European countries.

Amphetamines seized in Denmark are produced in the Netherlands, and, to a lesser extent, in Poland and Lithuania. Small ‘kitchen’-type laboratories that produce synthetic drugs (amphetamine and methamphetamine) for personal consumption are occasionally seized by police. The trafficking of amphetamines is mainly organised by domestic criminal groups, such as outlaw motorcycle gangs, and amphetamines are typically smuggled in motor vehicles and trains. Smaller quantities of these substances arrive in postal consignments. In 2016, a record amount of amphetamine seized was reported. MDMA/ecstasy seized in Denmark originates from the Netherlands and Belgium and the number of MDMA seizures has been rising in recent years. Increasingly, drugs are being distributed using closed Facebook groups and the darknet, while NPS are usually purchased online. Additionally, novel delivery methods through home delivery drug distribution networks have been reported. These are based on communication using unregistered phones and SMS ordering systems, posing investigative challenges.

The majority of heroin seized in Denmark is reported to originate in Afghanistan or Pakistan, and arrives in the country from transit hubs in Europe, often Germany. Heroin trafficking is carried out by small organised groups, individuals or family groups with connections to Pakistan or countries along the Balkan route. In the last decade, the number of heroin seizures has almost halved; the quantities of heroin seized show significant annual variations.

The data indicate that the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol in cannabis resin and the purity of cocaine have increased in recent years.

 

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.