Estonia Country Drug Report 2019

Drug laws and drug law offences

National drug laws

The Act on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Precursors Thereof regulates the field of narcotics and psychotropic substances in Estonia. Under this law, unauthorised consumption of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances without a prescription, or illegal manufacture, acquisition or possession of small quantities of any narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, is punishable by a fine of up to EUR 1 200 (usually determined by the police) or by administrative detention for up to 30 days. However, proceedings for misdemeanours may be suspended for reasons of expediency.

Any act of illegal possession or dealing in drugs not intended solely for personal use is considered a criminal offence, regardless of the type and amount of illicit drug. Activities such as illegal manufacture, acquisition, theft or robbery, storage, transport or delivery of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances with the intent to supply are punishable by up to 3 years’ imprisonment for the smallest quantities, with sentences increasing to 6-20 years’ imprisonment, or even life, depending on the quantities involved and other defined aggravating circumstances, such as organised crime.

Since 2011, treatment may be offered to drug-dependent offenders as an alternative to prison only if the offender is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of 6 months to 2 years and agrees to undergo the treatment course.

Historically, new psychoactive substances (NPS) were primarily regulated by amending the four schedules of narcotic and psychotropic substances to add each new substance individually. In 2013, Schedule V was added to regulate trade in NPS with legitimate industrial uses, such as gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD). The sale of substances in this schedule is an offence when there is the intention to cause intoxication. In 2016, Schedule VI was added; it includes 15 substance groups. Substances belonging to these groups, as well as their isomers, salts and ethers, do not need to be listed individually and are controlled automatically.

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Drug law offences

Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug-related crime and are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug markets dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.

Over 5 800 reports on DLOs (criminal offences and misdemeanours) were made in 2017, which is an increase compared with previous years. Around 7 out of 10 reported DLOs were related to use and possession.

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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.