Romania Country Drug Report 2018

Drug use and responses in prison

The prison system in Romania is coordinated by the Directorate of Prisons under the Ministry of Justice.

Available data on drug use among prisoners relate to assessments carried out at prison entry based on self-reporting. In 2016, less than 1 in 10 detainees declared at admission that they used drugs. Heroin was the most consumed drug prior to imprisonment. According to self-reports, injection is the most common route of administration of illicit substances prior to imprisonment. A new survey on drug use among prisoners was conducted in 2017 and data will be available in 2018.

National programme documents establish the framework for implementing drug-related health responses in prison in Romania. In 2016, a new legislative act foresees the possibility for detainees to engage in educational interventions that target drug use and associated negative consequences and to prevent drug offences.

Interventions for reducing drug demand in Romanian prisons have three lines of action: prevention, treatment and social reintegration. Three prevention projects were implemented in Romanian prisons in 2016. Services for drug users include psychosocial support, education and counselling, therapeutic communities and opioid substitution treatment (OST). Three therapeutic communities are available in prisons in Romania, and OST, mainly with methadone, can be initiated in prison for prisoners according to the indications. In 2016, a total of 29 prisoners received OST.

The prevention of drug-related infectious diseases falls under the responsibility of the existing medical units in prisons as providers of primary healthcare services to this population. Measures include the distribution of information materials, the reporting of communicable disease cases identified in the detention unit, and the provision of vaccinations, testing and treatments. A programme for needle and syringe exchange in prisons has been available since 2009, but in 2016 it did not register any clients.

The National Strategy for the Social Reintegration of Prisoners 2014-18 includes measures to ensure continuity of care after prisoners’ release, and programmes for post-release relapse prevention are available for those receiving OST.

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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.