Slovakia Country Drug Report 2018

Drug use

Prevalence and trends

Cannabis remains the most common illicit substance used among the adult general population in Slovakia, and its use is concentrated among young people aged 15-34 years.

A 2015 survey found that slightly less than one third of young people had tried cannabis during their lifetime, but approximately 1 in 10 had used cannabis during the last year. The last year prevalence of cannabis use almost halved between 2006 and 2010, while the 2015 survey indicated an increase in cannabis experimentation among young adults.

MDMA/ecstasy is the main illicit stimulant used among the adult general population and its use is particularly common among 15- to 24-year-olds. Methamphetamine is the second most prevalent stimulant; however, its use is mainly concentrated among some subgroups of the population exhibiting high-risk drug use patterns.

In 2015, less than 1 % of adults reported use of any new psychoactive substance in the past.

Bratislava and Piestany participate in the Europe-wide annual wastewater campaigns undertaken by the Sewage Analysis Core Group Europe (SCORE). This study provides data on drug use at a municipal level, based on the levels of illicit drugs and their metabolites found in wastewater. The results indicate a decrease in methamphetamine use in both cities between 2016 and 2017. Use of all stimulants (cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine and MDMA) appears to be more common in Bratislava than in Piestany; moreover, the levels of MDMA and cocaine metabolites increase at weekends in both cities.

Data on drug use among 15- to 16-year-old students are reported by the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD). The survey has been conducted in Slovakia since 1995 and the most recent data are from 2015. Slovak students reported prevalence rates above the ESPAD average (based on data from 35 countries) for three out of the eight key variables, including lifetime use of cannabis. The long-term trend indicates that the lifetime prevalence rate of cannabis use among 15- to 16-year-olds more than tripled between 1995 and 2007, fell slightly in 2011 and has since stabilised at a high level.

In 2015, Slovak students reported lifetime use of illicit drugs other than cannabis slightly higher than the ESPAD average, while lifetime use of NPS was more or less in line with the ESPAD average.

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High-risk drug use and trends

Studies reporting estimates of high-risk drug use can help to identify the extent of the more entrenched drug use problems, while data on first-time entrants to specialised drug treatment centres, when considered alongside other indicators, can inform an understanding of the nature of and trends in high-risk drug use.

In Slovakia, problem drug use is mainly linked to high-risk methamphetamine (domestically produced ‘pervitin’) use and high-risk opioid use. The last estimate of the number of high-risk opioid users, based on the multiplier method applied to data from harm reduction agencies, is from 2008. It suggested that there were around 4 900 high-risk opioid users in Slovakia. The same study estimated that the number of methamphetamine (pervitin) users was around 3 300.

Data from specialised treatment centres indicate that amphetamines (mainly methamphetamine) are the main primary illicit drug used by first-time treatment clients, followed by cannabis and heroin.

The number of first-time treatment clients seeking help for amphetamines (primarily methamphetamine) use continued to increase in 2016, while the number of heroin users requiring treatment for the first time has halved in the past decade.

In recent years, a decline in stimulant injecting has been observed, and reports indicate that methamphetamine is increasingly being smoked.

Overall 2 out of 10 clients entering treatment are female, but the proportion of females in treatment varies by treatment type and substance used.

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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.