Illicit drug policy in Estonia is set out in two strategic documents: the National Health Plan 2009-20 and the White Paper on Drug Prevention Policy. The Health Plan serves as the national drug strategy, stating the objectives on illicit drugs. It seeks to prevent and reduce both the consumption of narcotic substances and the health and social damage caused by drug use. Whereas the Minister of Social Affairs holds overall responsibility for the National Health Plan 2009-20, the Minister of the Interior is responsible for drugs issues within the plan and its action plans. The White Paper on Drug Prevention Policy, adopted in January 2014, elaborates on Estonia’s illicit drug policy; its main objective is to reduce drug use and the resulting harms.
It follows the EU’s balanced approach to drug policy and is structured around seven pillars: (i) supply reduction; (ii) universal primary prevention; (iii) early detection and intervention; (iv) harm reduction; (v) treatment and rehabilitation; (vi) resocialisation; and (vii) monitoring. Specific actions for achieving the individual objectives of each pillar are specified in an action plan appended to the White Paper, addressing the period to 2018. The White Paper on Drug Prevention Policy is a scientifically based guide for the annual planning of activities in the field of illicit drugs. It applies equally to the National Health Plan’s drug prevention measures and to development plans in other relevant fields.
Like other European countries, Estonia evaluates its drug policy and strategy using routine indicator monitoring and specific research projects. In 2013, an internal evaluation of the National Strategy for the Prevention of Drug Dependency (2004-12) was completed. It looked at the extent to which the strategy’s main objectives had been reached and its degree of implementation.
The Government Committee on Drug Prevention is responsible for coordination at inter-ministerial level. Its tasks are setting drug prevention priorities; monitoring and assessing ongoing actions; proposing policy solutions and advising the government on drug problems; and coordinating measures related to drugs enacted under the National Health Plan 2009-20. The Minister of the Interior chairs the committee, which has members from all relevant ministries. A series of working groups based on the pillars of the 2014 White Paper on Drug Prevention Policy play an important role in implementing drug policy. The working groups comprise representatives from relevant ministries, agencies and service providers. The Department of Public Health within the Ministry of Social Affairs is the permanent coordination unit in the field of drugs. The Minister of Social Affairs informs the government on the progress made in the implementation of the national drugs strategy. The National Institute for Health Development (the national focal point) is a member of the Government Committee for Drug Prevention and is responsible for providing annual information on the drug situation to this committee. At local level, health coordination committees, which exist throughout Estonia, address drug-related issues as part of their work.