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Germany country overview — a summary of the national drug situation



Germany country overview
A summary of the national drug situation

Map of Germany

Our partner in Germany

After establishment of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in 1993, the German Ministry for Health nominated the Federal Centre for Health Education, the German Centre for Addiction Issues and the IFT Institute for Therapy Research to act jointly as the German national focal point within the Reitox network of the EMCDDA. Read more »

Our partner in Germany

DBDD - Deutsche Beobachtungsstelle für Drogen und Drogensucht (German Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction)

Parzivalstraße 25
D-80804 München
Tel. +49 8936080440

Head of focal point: Mr Tim Pfeiffer-Gerschel

After establishment of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in 1993, the German Ministry for Health nominated the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung, BZgA, Cologne), the German Centre for Addiction Issues (Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragen e.V., DHS, Hamm) and the IFT Institute for Therapy Research (IFT Institut für Therapiefoschung, Munich) to act jointly as the German national focal point within the Reitox network of the EMCDDA. Together, the three institutions form the German Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (DBDD) with the IFT as the responsible overall management institution of the NFP. Within the DBDD, the BZgA deals with prevention aspects, the DHS is mainly responsible for the working areas ‘addiction treatment’ and ‘harm reduction’ and the IFT is responsible for epidemiology, scientific coordination and overall management of the NFP. A formal agreement which was accepted by the Ministry for Health in 1999, forms the basis of the interinstitutional cooperation. The DBDD works closely together with the German representatives within the EMCDDA: Mechthild Duckmans, the German national drug commissioner, represents Germany within the EMCDDA’s Management Board, together with Mr Dirk Lesser, who represents the Federal Länder. Prof. Dr Gerhard Bühringer (IFT Munich, University of Dresden) is the German member and Vice-Chair of the EMCDDA Scientific Committee.

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Drug use among the general population and young people

The latest representative survey, the nationwide Epidemiological Survey on Addiction (ESA), was conducted in Germany in 2012. A total of 9 084 people aged 18–64 responded to a questionnaire via mail, telephone or Internet (response rate: 53.6 %). Last year prevalence of use of any illicit substance was 4.9 % in 2012; 5.1 % in 2009; 5.0 % in 2006; and 7.4 % in 2003. Last month prevalence was 2.6 % in 2012; 2.6 % in 2009; 2.5 % in 2006; and 3.9 % in 2003. Cannabis remained by far the most used drug — last year prevalence was 4.5 % and last month prevalence was 2.3 %. With regard to the last year prevalence of other substances, cocaine use was reported by 0.8 %, amphetamines by 0.7 % and ecstasy by 0.4 % of respondents. About 0.6 % of all respondents indicated ever having used new psychoactive substances (NPS), while last year prevalence of NPS use was 0.2 % and last month prevalence was 0.1 %. The consumption of illicit substances was higher in younger age groups. Thus 11.1 % of young adults (aged 18–34) reported cannabis use in the last 12 months, and 5.3 % in the last 30 days. However, the last year use of most substances among young adults remained at the levels of 2009 and 2006. The survey indicates a decreasing trend in the last 12 month prevalence of cannabis use among 18- to 24-year-olds, following an increase until 2003.

The latest European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) in 2011 indicated that 19 % of students aged 15–16 reported using cannabis at least once in their life (20 % in 2007; 27 % in 2003). Last year prevalence of cannabis use was 15 % and last month prevalence was 7 %. Lifetime prevalence of inhalants was reported by 10 %, amphetamines by 4 %, and hallucinogens and ecstasy by 2 %.

The latest Drug Affinity Study (DAS), conducted in 2011 among a sample aged 12–25, corroborated findings from other studies that cannabis is by far the most frequently used illicit substance among adolescents and young adults in Germany, and that the use of illicit drugs is more common among young males than females. The study, carried out by the Federal Centre for Health Education (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung/BZgA), also confirmed a declining trend in recent cannabis use over time among those aged 12–17, reflecting a decline found in the ESA results. The last month prevalence of cannabis use declined from 2.4 % in 2004 to 1.9 % in 2011, while last year prevalence fell from 10.1 % to 4.6 %. This trend is not observed among those aged 18–25, although the rates of recent cannabis use remain at or below the record rates observed in 2004.

In summary, the trends observed in all recent studies might indicate a decrease in the experimental use of cannabis among younger age groups in Germany.

Look for Prevalence of drug use in the 'Statistical bulletin' for more information  

High-risk drug use

Up to 2012 the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) defined problem drug use as injecting drug use (IDU) or long duration/regular use of opiates, cocaine and/or amphetamines. However, in 2012 a new definition of ‘high-risk drug use’ was adopted. This new definition includes ‘problem drug use’, but is broader (mainly in its inclusion of high-risk use of more substances). Details are available here.

The population of high-risk opioid users are estimated in Germany by means of several multiplier methods using three data sources — police contacts (1), drug-related deaths (both estimates are based on 2013 data) and treatment (the most recent estimate is based on 2012 data). These estimates indicate an estimated range of 1.05 to 3.37 high-risk opioid users per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64, which corresponds to between 56 900 and 182 300 people, and is slightly lower than in 2012. The most recent estimate of high-risk drug use (based on treatment data only), including heroin, cocaine and amphetamine use, is also based on treatment data for 2012. According to the data, the prevalence is estimated at between 217 300 and 258 000 (4.02 to 4.77 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64), which is slightly but insignificantly lower than estimates reported for 2011.

An estimate based on a 2012 general population survey indicated that 0.6 % of 15- to 64-year-olds in Germany used cannabis daily or almost daily.

  • (1) Police multiplier only refers to heroin users.

Look for High risk drug-use in the Statistical bulletin for more information.  

Treatment demand

Data on people entering treatment come from several national sources integrated in the German Core Data Set on the Documentation of Addiction Treatment for providing data on the EMCDDA Treatment Demand Indicator (TDI) Protocol. However, there are still divergences between the TDI and the Core Data. The treatment demand data in Germany for 2013 were based on 822 outpatient centres, 200 inpatient centres, 31 low-threshold agencies and 13 treatment units in prison.

In 2013 a total of 65 865 clients entering specialised treatment were reported via the national treatment statistics, of which 20 692 were new clients entering treatment for the first time. Among new treatment clients, 56 % sought treatment for cannabis use, 19 % for stimulants use, 14 % for primary opioid use and 6 % for cocaine use. Opioids still remain the primary substance of use for 37 % of all treatment clients; however, their proportion has reduced over the years. Cannabis is the second most frequently reported substance at 36 %, followed by stimulants at 15 % and cocaine at 6 %. Among all treatment clients, around 20 % of those using injectable drugs injected them, with opioids being the most frequently injected substance. Overall levels of drug injection were lower among new treatment clients but, as with all treatment clients, the largest proportion of injectors was reported among opioid users. Many clients reported polydrug use, where two or more substances are used in combination at the same time or consecutively.

In 2013 the mean age of all treatment clients was 31, while new treatment clients were on average 27 years old. With regard to gender, the male to female ratio was 4 to 1 for both new and all clients entering drug treatment.

Look for Treatment demand indicator in the Statistical bulletin for more information.  

Drug-related infectious diseases

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), Sexual Transmitted Infections (STI) and Blood-borne Infections Unit within the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Department of the Robert Koch-Institut (RKI) collects nationwide data on infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis. All laboratories in Germany have been obliged since 1987 to anonymously report to the RKI any confirmed HIV antibody tests.

According to the Robert Koch-Institut, 3 263 newly diagnosed HIV cases were reported in 2013, which is a 9.6 % increase in comparison with 2012. Of all the cases with a known transmission route (75 %), 4.1 % were people who inject drugs (PWID). In 2000 some 12.4 % of those newly diagnosed with HIV were PWID and a clear downward trend can be observed between 2000–09 with some signs of stabilisation in recent years. The HIV incidence study that was carried out from 2008 to 2010 indicated that the proportion of recently contracted HIV infections was higher among PWID compared to other transmission groups. According to the 2014 National report, HIV prevalence among tested primary opioid clients in outpatient treatment was 5 % in 2013. However, in light of the large number of unknown cases this value represents a conservative estimate of the actual prevalence and must be interpreted with caution.

The incidence of reported cases of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in 2013 was 0.8 per 100 000 inhabitants (0.8 in 2012; 1.0 in 2011; 0.9 in 2010; 0.9 in 2009; 1.0 in 2008). The incidence of newly diagnosed cases of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 2013 was 6.3 per 100 000 inhabitants (6.1 in 2012; 6.1 in 2011; 6.5 in 2010; 6.6 in 2009; 7.5 in 2008), thus suggesting a downward trend with some stabilisation in recent years. It is not possible to differentiate between acute and chronic HCV infections with the current reporting system. Reliable information was available on the mode of transmission in 1 324 (26 %) of the new diagnoses cases reported. Of those, injecting drug use, which is highly likely to be causally linked to the diagnosed HCV cases, was reported for 1 157 cases (87 %). According to the 2014 National report, HBV and HCV prevalence among tested opioid clients in outpatient treatment was 7 % and 50 % respectively in 2013.

In 2012 a study on drugs and chronic infectious diseases, including serosurveys among people who inject drugs, was launched in eight cities and its preliminary findings are available in the 2014 National report.

Look for Drug-related infectious diseases in the Statistical bulletin for more information.  

Drug-induced deaths and mortality among drug users

In Germany, drug-induced deaths are registered by two country-wide documentation systems: the Police Register of the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (Bundeskriminalamt/BKA) and the General Mortality Register of the Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt). Drug-induced deaths are recorded in the BKA register by the Criminal Police Offices in the individual Länder, while the BKA is responsible for data quality management and collection. The amount of data reported for each drug-induced death varies between Länder. Data extraction and reporting is in line with the EMCDDA definitions and recommendations.

The most recent data according to the national definition (BKA) show that in 2013 a total of 1 002 people died because of the use of illicit drugs, which is slightly more than in 2012 but remains below the levels reported before 2010. The mean age of the deceased was 38 years, and the majority of victims were male. Opiates alone or in combination with other substances remain the most common cause of drug-induced deaths, followed by medications used in substitution treatment and stimulants. According to the General Mortality Register, there were 1 079 drug-induced deaths in 2012, indicating a consolidation of the declining trend in drug-induced deaths. According to the police register data, though, the number of drug-related deaths rose for the first time for six years, showing a slight rebound from 994 cases reported in 2012 to 1 002 cases reported in 2013.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15–64) was 17.6 deaths per million in Germany in 2012, similar to the European average of 17.2 deaths per million.

Look for Drug-related deaths in the Statistical bulletin for more information.  

Treatment responses

In Germany, responsibility for the implementation of drug treatment falls to the federal Länder and municipalities. Available treatment ranges from low-threshold contacts and counselling services to intensive treatment and therapy in specialised inpatient facilities, with a large offer of opioid substitution treatment (OST) and the availability of long-term rehabilitative treatment and social reintegration options. Special guidelines are available for the treatment of opioid addiction and psychological and behavioural problems related to the use of cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy and hallucinogens. In recent years guidelines for the treatment of addiction among elderly people and recommendations on how to deal with somatic and psychosomatic comorbidity have also been developed. Funding for treatment is provided by many actors: the Länder, pension and health insurance bodies, municipalities, communities, charities, private institutions and companies. In recent years however, some municipalities had cut the provision of outpatient services due to funding constrains.

There are approximately 1 300 outpatient psycho-social counselling centres, 300 psychiatric clinics, 300 psychiatric outpatient institutes, around 300 specialist hospital departments, 190 withdrawal clinics with motivational elements, 380 social therapy facilities (in- and outpatient) and 530 rehabilitation facilities (in- and outpatient). Additionally, there are about 460 programmes for outpatient assisted living and about 250 employment projects and qualification measures. In 2013 a total of 2 691 licensed doctors reported provision of OST.

Most drug treatment takes place in centres and institutions that deal with addiction in general, although there are also treatment units for illicit drug users only. Treatment is offered by the primary healthcare system, mainly in the field of OST, and drug dependence problems are treated by outpatient counselling centres, which provide psychosocial care and psychotherapy, and they are often an entry point for clients. While these centres traditionally provide psychosocial treatment, all forms of treatment are now offered through the centres themselves or in collaboration with general practitioners specifically qualified in addiction medicine. Psychiatric facilities for addiction represent the second major pillar of drug addiction treatment in Germany. A wide range of services are provided in inpatient, outpatient and day-care settings of these facilities, including low-threshold, qualified detoxification treatment, crisis interventions, a complex treatment of comorbidity and planning of reintegration. Detoxification can also be administered in therapeutic communities. In the integration and after-care phase, a varied range of services relating to employment, housing and reintegration into society are provided. Methadone was introduced as a substitute in 1992, and the majority of clients in maintenance treatment are on methadone. Buprenorphine, which was introduced in 2000, is also used in substitution treatment in Germany. A model project on heroin-assisted treatment started in 2003 and was evaluated in 2006. In 2009 and 2010 legal provisions were passed to make the treatment a part of routine practice.

Since 2002 information on OST has been recorded by the substitution register, to avoid double prescriptions of substitution drugs and to monitor the implementation of specific quality standards in therapy. As of 1 July 2013 there were 77 300 clients in OST, of whom 60 217 were on methadone (or levomethadone) and 16 465 on buprenorphine. Codeine, dihydrocodeine and diamorphine are also occasionally used in substitution treatment (0.1 %, 0.2 % and 0.5 % of all clients in substitution treatment, respectively). Access to OST differs between Länder, with the eastern Länder contributing 3 % of the total number clients and 5 % of the total number of registered physicians providing OST. The availability of OST outside larger cities is considered insufficient by experts and by people eligible for the treatment.

See the Treatment profile for Germany for additional information.  

Harm reduction responses

Harm reduction is one of the four pillars of the German national drug strategy. The major aim of harm reduction is to reduce mortality and morbidity. In the last few decades a system of low-threshold measures has been constructed that has an important function, in particular, in the drug scenes of cities.

Needle and syringe programmes have operated unofficially in some cities since 1984 but were only legalised in 1992. According to a recent survey, Germany has the highest number of needle and syringe vending machines in the world — around 160 vending machines across nine of its 16 Länder are reported by the German Aidshilfe. Since the quality of reporting varies very much between Länder, it is possible that there are vending machines missing from the data. One needle and syringe programme is available in prison. Data on the number syringes distributed are not available for the country as a whole.

There are also drug help centres, which serve as a contact point for drug users and give support in emergency cases by offering psychosocial and medical help; many also offer outreach services. A review of safer use initiatives across the country documented that at least one-quarter of rural and urban districts have a syringe distribution site (a vending machine or other facility). Drug consumption rooms can be opened if the government of the Länder passes a special regulation on the basis of a national law. This was done by six of 16 Länder, and currently there are 23 stationary drug consumption rooms in Germany and a drug consumption vehicle operates in Berlin.

There are about 300 low-threshold services and counselling facilities, which are, for the most part, funded by public funds.

See the Harm reduction overview for Germany for additional information.  

Drug markets and drug-law offences

In terms of drug trafficking, south-west Asia, mainly Afghanistan, remains the most important source of heroin trafficked to Germany. Cocaine seized in Germany mainly originates in South America and enters Germany via airmail or air couriers, or directly by sea. The Netherlands and, to a much smaller extent, the Czech Republic (especially for methamphetamine) are the main countries of origin for synthetic drugs such as amphetamine and its derivatives. Cannabis is extensively cultivated in Germany. A total of 782 cannabis plantations were seized in 2013, and a considerable increase in large and professional plantations is noted.

Although the number of seizures and quantities seized experience large annual variations, cannabis remains the most frequently seized substance in Germany. In 2013 the quantity of cannabis resin and herb seized decreased when compared with 2012, while the number of cannabis plants seized increased following a drop in 2012 (107 766 plants in 2013 and 97 829 in 2012). The quantity of heroin seized was slightly higher than in 2012, but remains below the levels reported before 2011 (270 kg seized in 2013; 242 kg in 2012; 498 kg in 2011; 474 kg in 2010; 758 kg in 2009). The stimulant market is more complex, but for all substances an increase was noted in 2013 in comparison with a preceding year. The methamphetamine market has experienced its largest expansion in recent years; in 2012–13 the number of seizures was 3 512 and 3 847 respectively, and the largest amounts of the substance ever seized were reported (75 kg and 77 kg respectively), which is double and triple the amounts reported in 2010–11 (26.8 kg in 2010; 40 kg in 2011). A total of 1 315 kg of cocaine was seized in 2013 (1 258 kg in 2012). The quantity of amphetamine seized was 1 262 kg, which is slightly higher than in 2012 (1 368 kg in 2011; 1 121 kg in 2012), with further analysis of a number of reported amphetamine seizures indicating an overall expansion of the amphetamine market over the last decade. Compared to 2012, the number of ecstasy seizures increased in 2013 (1 786 seizures in 2012 and 2 233 seizures in 2013), as did the number of ecstasy tablets seized (313 179 in 2012 and 480 839 in 2013). In general, however, there has been a massive drop in ecstasy seizures in recent years, when compared with the period 1999–2007.

Twenty illegal laboratories producing amphetamine and methamphetamine were dismantled in 2013.

In 2013 a total of 253 525 drug-law offences were reported, which is more than reported annually for the period 2007‒12. More than half of the offences were related to cannabis, followed by amphetamine. Around 75 % of all drug-law offences were use-related offences committed against the Narcotic Act (unauthorised possession, purchase and distribution of narcotic substances).

Look for Drug law offences in the Statistical bulletin for additional data.  

National drug laws

The German Federal Narcotics Act defines schedules of narcotic substances, the framework and procedure for legal turnover and prescription of narcotics, criminal and administrative liability; and alternative measures for drug-addicted offenders. Use of drugs is not mentioned as an offence. Unauthorised possession of drugs is a criminal offence, but there are various possibilities within the law to refrain from prosecution if only small quantities of narcotic drugs for personal use are involved. Important criteria for such a decision are the amount and type of drugs, involvement of others, personal history and public interest in prosecution. Most of the Länder have defined values for ‘small amounts’ of cannabis, and a few have established such values for heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and ecstasy; for methamphetamine a federal ruling limits the ‘non-small’ amount to 5 g of the active substance. When a sentence is given, the principle of ‘treatment instead of punishment’ still — under certain circumstances — allows a postponement or remission of the punishment if the offender undergoes treatment instead.

The illicit supply, cultivation and manufacture of narcotic drugs carry penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment. This increases to 15 years if there are also aggravating circumstances, which include: ‘not insignificant’ quantities of narcotic drugs; an adult supplying narcotics to a person under the age of 18; a person trafficking narcotics ‘professionally’ or as a member of a gang; or carrying a weapon when committing a serious drug-related offence.

Notable changes since 1981 include the legal bases for ‘therapy instead of punishment’ (1981), opioid substitution treatment and distribution of sterile disposable syringes (1992), the prerequisites for the establishment of drug injecting rooms at the discretion of the Länder (2000) and diamorphine-assisted substitution treatment (2009). The Act on diamorphine-assisted substitution therapy entered into force on 21 July 2009, and stipulates that diamorphine (pharmaceutically produced heroin) is eligible for prescription — on very narrow criteria — as a narcotic drug for heavily dependent opioid addicts. In 2010 additional legal provisions were passed to regulate the availability of the therapy through statutory health insurance and to promote appropriate training among medical professionals.

In 2011 cannabis was transferred from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Narcotic Act, which for the first time enabled cannabis-containing proprietary medicinal products to be manufactured and prescribed, after clinical testing and licensing by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM). In 2012 further regulations to amend Schedules I to III of the Narcotic Act were passed by the Bundesrat in order to include some new psychoactive substances. The maximum amounts of narcotic substances that can be prescribed were altered (e.g. methylphenidate) or stipulated for the first time (e.g. cannabis extract, dexamphetamine and flunitrazepam).

The German Federal Narcotics Act is used to control new psychoactive substances.

Go to the European Legal Database on Drugs (ELDD) for additional information.  

National drug strategy

In March 2010 the Drug Commissioner of the Federal Government called for the development of a new federal drug strategy. As a result, the National Strategy on Drug and Addiction Policy was adopted on 15 February 2012 by the Federal Cabinet. The Strategy’s primary aim is to help individuals to avoid and reduce their consumption of licit (alcohol, tobacco and psychotropic pharmaceuticals) and illicit addictive substances and related addictive behaviours (such as pathological gambling). The overall goals of the strategy are reflected in its four levels: (i) prevention; (ii) counselling and treatment, help in overcoming addiction; (iii) harm reduction measures; and (iv) repression.

The comprehensive scope of the strategy, which focuses on addictive substances and behaviours, can be seen in its six areas: (i) alcohol; (ii) tobacco; (iii) prescription drug addiction and prescription drug abuse; (iv) pathological gambling; (v) online/media addiction; and (vi) illegal drugs. Each of the six areas contains a set of goals and measures to deliver the strategy.


Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

The Federal Drug Commissioner is responsible for coordinating the drug and addiction policy of the whole federal government and is located within the Federal Ministry for Health (BMG).

The Drugs and Addiction Council is an advisory body that follows the federal actions and partly evaluates them. It is composed of representatives of the respective government and Länder departments, funding organs, associations, and research and self-help organisations.

The Länder and the local authorities are to a large extent responsible for the implementation of the national policy on drugs, and particular Länder may have a different list of priorities concerning some elements of the plan.

Coordination between the federal government and the Länder takes place in the conferences of government departments and their working groups.

Public expenditure

In Germany the drug action plans do not have associated budgets and there is no review of executed expenditures. Since the funding of drug initiatives is the responsibility of a number of different bodies — the Länder, federal government, local government and social security — information on drug related expenditure is not aggregated regularly. However, in 2010 a study estimated the total drug-related public expenditure for the year 2006 (1,2).

In 2006 total drug-related expenditures ranged between 0.23 % and 0.26 % of gross domestic product (GDP). Expenditure on public order and safety represented more than 60 %, health and social protection less than 35 % and general coordination activities less than 1 % of the total (Table 1).

The available information does not allow trends in drug-related public expenditure in Germany to be reported.

Table 1: Total drug-related public expenditure, 2006 a
  Expenditure (thousand EUR) % of total
(a) EMCDDA estimations based on Mostardt et al. (2010) calculations.
(b) According to the United Nations Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) Eurostat data sources: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/ (general) and http://unstats.un.org/unsd/cr/registry/regcst.asp?Cl=4.
Source: Mostardt et al. (2010).
COFOG classification b    
Public order and safety 3 366 342–4 219 542 64.8–69.5
Health and social protection 1 787 272–1 814 472 29.9–34.4
General public services 40 285 0.7–0.8
5 193 899–6 074 299 100
% of GDP a
0.23–0.26 %  
  • (1) Some of the funds allocated by governments for expenditure on tasks related to drugs are identified as such in the budget (‘labelled’). Often, however, the bulk of drug-related expenditure is not identified (‘unlabelled’) and must be estimated by modelling approaches. The total budget is the sum of labelled and unlabelled drug-related expenditures.
  • (2) S. Mostardt, S. Floeter, A. Neumann, J. Wasem and T. Pfeiffer-Gerschel (2010), ‘Schätzung der Ausgaben der öffentlichen Hand durch den Konsum illegaler Drogen in Deutschland’, Das Gesundheitswesen 73, pp. 886–94.

Drug-related research

Research on drugs in Germany covers the entire range of basic and applied research. There are also several academic research centres that apply for funding in tendered projects or receive basic funding. The exchange of information in the research community is to a large extent organised by researchers themselves, networks and professional companies, and takes place primarily through research conferences and scientific journals addressing the drugs field, but clinical guidelines and transfer processes through which initiatives with a positive evaluation are implemented more widely are also used. Recent drug-related studies mentioned in the 2014 German National report mainly focused on aspects related to responses to the drug situation, consequences of drug use, and the prevalence, incidence and patterns of drug use; methodology issues and determinants of drug use were also covered.

See Drug-related research for more detailed information. 

Key national figures and statistics

b Break in time series.

e Estimated.

p Eurostat provisional value.

1 Gross domestic product (GDP) is a measure of economic activity. It is defined as the value of all goods and services produced less the value of any goods or services used in their creation. The volume index of GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Standards (PPS) is expressed in relation to the European Union (EU-27) average set to equal 100. If the index of a country is higher than 100, this country's level of GDP per head is higher than the EU average and vice versa.

2  Expenditure on social protection contains: benefits, which consist of transfers, in cash or in kind to households and individuals to relieve them of the burden of a defined set of risks or needs.

3 Unemployment rates represent unemployed persons as a percentage of the labour force. Unemployed persons comprise persons aged 15 to 74 who were: (a) without work during the reference week; (b) currently available for work; (c) actively seeking work.

4 Situation of penal institutions on 1 September, 2012.

5 Share of persons aged 0+ with an equivalent disposable income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60 % of the national median equivalised disposable income (after social transfers).

Key figures
  Year Germany EU (27 countries) Source
Population  2014 80 767 463
506 824 509 ep Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2014 10.8 % b 11.3 % bep
25–49 33.6 % b 34.7 % bep
50–64 21.7 % b 19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2013 122 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2012 29.5 % p 29.5 % p Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2014 5.0 % 10.2 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2014 7.7 % 22.2 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2013 84.1  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2013
At risk of poverty rate 5  2013 16.1 % 17.6 % SILC

Data sheet — key statistics on the drug situation

        EU range      
  Year   Country data Min. Max. Average Rank Reporting Countries
Problem opioid use (rate/1 000) 2012 1 2.8 - 3.4 0.2 10.7   12 21
All clients entering treatment (%) 2013   37.1% 6% 93%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2013   13.7% 2% 81%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) 2013 2 ; 3 15.9% 6% 42%   9 24
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) 2013 2 EUR 49 EUR 25 EUR 158   10 22
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011 4 3.0% 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2012   1.6% 0% 4% 2%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2012   0.8% 0% 2% 1% 17 26
All clients entering treatment (%) 2013   5.9% 0% 39%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2013   5.6% 0% 40%      
Purity (%) 2013 3 61.3% 20% 75%   25 27
Price per gram (EUR) 2013   EUR 69 EUR 47 EUR 103   15 24
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   4.0% 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2012   1.8% 0% 3% 1%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2012   0.7% 0% 1% 1% 20 25
All clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 74%      
Purity (%) 2013 3 9.9% 5% 71%   10 25
Price per gram (EUR) 2013   EUR 12 EUR 8 EUR 63   9 21
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   2.0% 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2012   0.9% 0% 3% 1%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2012   0.4% 0% 2% 1% 10 25
All clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 4%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) 2013 3 91 mg 26 mg 144 mg   13 23
Price per tablet (EUR) 2013   EUR 8 EUR 3 EUR 24   13 19
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   19.0% 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2012   11.1% 0% 22% 12%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2012   4.5% 0% 9% 6% 15 27
All clients entering treatment (%) :   36.3% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   56.1% 5% 80%      
Potency — herbal (%) 2013 3 9.3% 2% 13%   12 22
Potency — resin (%) 2013 3 9.4% 3% 22%   5 20
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) 2013   EUR 9 EUR 4 EUR 25   12 19
Price per gram — resin (EUR) 2013   EUR 8 EUR 3 EUR 21   8 21
Prevalence of problem drug use                
Problem drug use (rate/1 000) 2012 5 4.0 - 4.8 2.0 10.0      
Injecting drug use (rate/1 000) :   : 0.2 9.2      
Drug-related infectious diseases/deaths                
HIV infections newly diagnosed (rate/million) 2013   1.2 0.0 54.5      
HIV prevalence (%) :   : 0% 49%      
HCV prevalence (%) :   : 14% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) 2013   12.2 1.5 84.1      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed 2013   2 085 999 124 406 9 239 506      
Clients in substitution treatment 2013   77 300 180 172 513      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2013   80 624 289 101 753      
New clients 2013   23 402 19 35 229      
All clients with known primary drug 2013   80 624 287 99 186      
New clients with known primary drug 2013   23 402 19 34 524      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences 2013   253 525 429 426 707      
Offences for use/possession 2013   189 783 58 397 713      


See the explanatory notes for further information on the methods and definitions.

Only the most recent data are available for each key statistic. Data before 2006 were excluded.

1 - Heroin, Methadone, Buprenorphine, other opioids. Germany reported two estimates for 2013 (based on MM or PM methods). However, data for 2012 TM method are presented here. Data shown are the lowest and highest bound of estimation.

2 - Data is for heroin undistinguished and not heroin brown.

3 - Value is the median and not the mean.

4 – Data based in only five out of sixteen federal states (Bundesländer).

5 - Heroin, Methadone, Buprenorphine, other opioids, Cocaine, Powder cocaine, Crack cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA and derivates, other stimulants.

Additional sources of national information

In addition to the information provided above, you might find the following resources useful sources of national data.


Page last updated: Wednesday, 03 June 2015