Norway Country Drug Report 2018

Drug markets

Cannabis is the most commonly seized drug in Norway. While the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain are important in the cannabis resin distribution to Norway, in 2016 Poland emerged as a transit country for this drug, with customs reporting large (≥ 100 kg) quantities arriving in lorries from Poland via Sweden. Herbal cannabis reportedly enters via Sweden or by sea from Germany or other EU countries. In addition, some domestic cultivation of herbal cannabis takes place indoors. While no direct evidence exists of domestic production of amphetamines, amphetamine liquid (base), which can easily be processed into amphetamine sulphate, continues to be seized.

Heroin is brought to Norway mainly via the ‘Balkan route’ through Germany and the Netherlands. Cocaine also enters Norway through other European countries in vehicles or using ‘drug mules’. Most amphetamines (predominantly methamphetamine) seized in 2016 in Norway came via Poland, Sweden and Germany. The MDMA/ecstasy that is available on the Norwegian market comes mainly from the Netherlands and Poland.

The long-term trend in drug seizures reported from the National Crime Investigation Service indicates an increase in the total number of seizures between 2007 and 2014, whereas in 2015 and 2016 the total number of seizures reported decreased. As a consequence, the numbers of seizures of individual substances reported in 2016 were either stable or below the levels of 2015. This may be explained by the priorities of the police and customs activities. However, in 2016, record amounts of cannabis resin and herbal cannabis were reported, while the quantity of cocaine seized remained stable, and cannabis plants, amphetamines (including methamphetamine) and MDMA were seized in lower amounts than in previous years. In 2016, the quantity of heroin seized was a quarter of that in 2015, and among the lowest for the period 2007-16.

There has been an increase in the number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) seizures in Norway since 2009; however, since 2012, numbers have levelled off, and the number of reported seizures almost halved between 2015 and 2016 (860 and 460 seizures respectively). The NPS are mainly smuggled into Norway via postal shipments, mainly from the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Spain. The most recent data indicate that synthetic cannabinoids and benzodiazepine-like substances are the most frequently seized NPS.

According to national law enforcement authorities, online drug transactions have increased in recent years for NPS as well as established illicit drugs.

With regard to law enforcement activities, priority is increasingly being given to strengthening technology-based intelligence to tackle the challenges posed by the use of the internet and postal services for smuggling drugs into the country.

 

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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.