Lithuania Country Drug Report 2019

Drug laws and drug law offences

National drug laws

In Lithuania, the Law on Control of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances establishes the principles of the classification of such substances and the regulations for any medical use, and the Criminal Code specifies the crimes and punishments possible.

Consumption of drugs is an administrative offence punishable by a fine of EUR 30 to EUR 150 for a first offence; participation in a rehabilitative programme might also be ordered. Since January 2017, procurement and possession of a small amount of an illicit drug with no intent to distribute has been a criminal offence (misdemeanour) punishable by community service or restriction of liberty or an arrest (non-prison incarceration) of 10-45 days. The same action involving more than the defined small amount is a criminal offence punishable by up to 2 years’ imprisonment.

Drug traffickers may be sentenced to 2-8 years’ imprisonment, which may increase to 3-12 years, 8-10 years or 10-15 years, depending on the quantities involved and the presence of aggravating circumstances (e.g. the involvement of minors or an organised group). A Ministry of Health regulation defines small, large and very large quantities of all drugs.

New psychoactive substances are controlled when added to the list of controlled drugs: List of Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances. Since 2011, this list has defined several generic groups, enabling a broad control.

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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 market dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.

Data on DLOs from Lithuania indicate that the number of DLOs increased up to 2015. After a slight drop reported in 2016, the number of DLOs increased again in 2017. A similar trend was noted for all criminal offences recorded in Lithuania in this period. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the vast majority of the DLOs in 2017 were linked to the possession of psychotropic substances for purposes other than distribution.

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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.