Denmark Country Drug Report 2018

National drug strategy and coordination

National drug strategy

Denmark’s national illicit drug policy is comprehensive and covers prevention and early intervention, treatment, harm reduction and law enforcement. Although Denmark does not have a national drug strategy document, the national drug policy is defined in strategic documents in different policy areas and implemented in legislation and concrete actions. As a result, Danish drug policy covers all the areas that are relevant to a comprehensive approach to drug issues.

As in other European countries, Denmark evaluates its drug policy and strategy through ongoing indicator monitoring and specific research projects. This approach is used to assess the overall drug policy and to fine-tune specific interventions. For example, the Danish Health Authority regularly monitors a range of key epidemiological indicators that provide insights into drug problems and there have been recent specific evaluations of programmes for drug consumption rooms, heroin-assisted treatment and the provision of anonymous drug use.




National coordination mechanisms

Denmark has no special body with the sole task of coordinating drug policy. The Ministry of Health is responsible for central coordination in the drugs field. Coordination is based on frequent informal contact between relevant national authorities. The Ministry of Health is responsible for legislation governing controlled substances; monitoring the legal use of controlled substances; and tasks at the national level concerning drug use prevention and medical drug abuse treatment, including, but not limited to, the treatment of drug users and harm reduction interventions.

The Danish Health Authority develops professional guidelines, monitors drug use through surveys of the population and the drug markets, and acts as the national focal point for the EMCDDA.

The Danish Medicines Agency issues authorisations to companies seeking to transport psychoactive substances for medical purposes and works with the International Narcotics Control Board in this respect.

The Ministry for Children and Social Affairs is the central authority responsible for tasks related to social drug abuse treatment and any other social services that are regulated by the Danish Social Services Act.

The National Board of Social Services is responsible for communicating information on effective social intervention practices and methods for drug users, as well as assisting in providing general and special advice to the municipalities and regions.

The Ministry of Justice governs the police force and is in charge of interventions that target prisoners with a drug use problem. The Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Customs and Tax Administration is responsible for customs, including the monitoring and control of the legal use of and trade in drugs precursors. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the overall foreign, security and development cooperation policies, including support to initiatives that aim to assist drug-producing countries and transit countries in their work to limit the supply of and demand for drugs. At a local level, the municipalities are responsible for carrying out prevention and harm reduction interventions, as well as the medical and social treatment of drug users, which is the responsibility of the regions during hospitalisation. The role of the municipalities in this context is supported by the central authorities in the form of monitoring, providing overall guidelines and documentation, facilitating the exchange of data, etc.

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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.