Greece country overview

Greece country overview

Map of Greece

About NFP: 

The Greek national focal point is located within the University Mental Health Research Institute and operates as the National Centre of Documentation and Information on Drugs. The national focal point operates on the basis of a three-year contract with the Ministry of Health and collaborates with OKANA (the Greek Organisation Against Drugs). Overall, the national focal point deals with drug-related issues in the field of epidemiology and responses, and is given a mandate beyond the implementation of EMCDDA-related activities. Its responsibilities also include monitoring alcohol use and related problems, and drafting the Greek National report on drugs, the annual Greek bibliography on drugs and alcohol, and other alcohol-related assignments.

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National statistics and key statistics about the country

Drug use among the general population and young people

Content for prevalence: 

The latest available data on drug use among the general population in Greece are from the household survey conducted by the University Mental Health Research Institute in 2004. Lifetime prevalence of illicit drug use showed a significant increase between 1984 and 2004, peaking in 1998. The most recent survey (2004) found that 8.6 % of people aged 12–64 reported lifetime use of illicit drugs, mainly cannabis. Among young adults (aged 15–34) lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 10.8 %, while 3.2 % had used cannabis in the last year and 1.5 % in the last month.

In 2006 a study was conducted in Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion among the general population aged 15–64. Results showed that 19.4 % of respondents had tried any illicit drug at least once, and that lifetime prevalence was higher among males (24.8 %) than among females (14.0 %). Lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was reported by 19.3 % of respondents. Respondents in Athens reported higher drug use than in the two other cities.

With regard to the student population, the latest European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) was conducted in 2015, and the data will become available in mid-2016. The latest available data refers to the study in 2011, and involved a nationwide sample of high-school students aged 15–16. In 2011 some 8 % had ever tried cannabis (6 % in 2007; 6 % in 2003; 9 % in 1999). Lifetime prevalence of inhalants was reported by 14 %, similar to the levels reported in 2003 and 1999, after falling to 9 % in 2007. Lifetime prevalence of amphetamines, ecstasy and LSD use was 2 % for each drug. Last year prevalence of cannabis use was 7 % (5 % in 2007 and 2003), and last month prevalence was 4 % (3 % in 2007; 2 % in 2003).

The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey has been conducted regularly since 1998, with the latest data collected in 2010 among a representative sample aged 11, 13 and 15. However, only those aged 15–16 were asked about drug use behaviours. Overall, 7 % indicated that they had ever used cannabis (3 % in 2006; 5 % in 2002). There was, however, a wide gap between male and female students, with 11 % of males and 4 % of females reporting ever having tried cannabis. Most of those reporting lifetime cannabis use had used it recently (more than once in the last 12 months).

The recent studies indicate a tendency towards an increase in cannabis use among school-aged children since 2007, although the rates remain significantly below the European average (ESPAD, 2011).

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


Content for prevention: 

Drug prevention in Greece is mostly implemented by a nationwide network of 75 Prevention Centres for Addiction and Psychosocial Health Promotion, established within the framework of cooperation between the Organisation Against Drugs (ΟΚΑΝA) and local authorities and local stakeholders. Their activities include the prevention of all kinds of addiction and the promotion of psychosocial health. The Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, other governmental and non-governmental drug-specialised or health services are also active in the field of prevention.

Particular emphasis is placed on prevention interventions in school setting. Prevention in primary and secondary education encompasses programme-based interventions in the context of the health promotion programmes of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, or in close cooperation with interventions designed and delivered by the network of Prevention Centres. Prevention interventions in primary education are implemented during the so-called ‘flexible zone’ of the school timetable or become part of the optional afternoon programme in all-day schools, while in secondary education interventions are implemented outside school hours. The development of personal and social skills is a key feature of these activities, in both primary and secondary education. Knowledge about drugs and changing attitudes towards drugs are also important components of programmes implemented in secondary education. Furthermore, the Prevention Centres and other agencies provide training seminars and supervision sessions to help teachers implement health promotion programmes. Families are another core target group for drug prevention: family prevention includes information events and training programmes (parents’ groups). In addition, the Prevention Centres and other agencies appear to be responding to the challenge of organising prevention interventions outside the school setting for pre-adolescents and adolescents. Apart from multi-session standardised programmes, these interventions include experiential groups and creative activities such as drama groups, music groups and painting groups, and target children and young people at various ages. Prevention centres also provide information and raise public awareness about drugs and drug dependence, and prevention professionals target other members of the local community, such as volunteers, the army, public security forces, health professionals and youth mediators.

Although drug prevention in Greece focuses more on universal interventions, it is clear that efforts are being made to develop and implement selective prevention interventions that reach groups and individuals at risk. Icarus Prevention Unit (KETHEA) designs and implements interventions targeting young offenders, young people who experiment with drugs, immigrants, re-migrants, refugees, disabled children, children from dysfunctional environments, at-risk families and children living in care institutions. In 2010 KETHEA opened a community intervention centre in Athens to work with young people from socially excluded families, exhibiting delinquent behaviour and with drug use problems. Some prevention centres and agencies implement activities addressing youngsters experimenting with drugs or with psychosocial problems, single parent families, families from culturally diverse groups or immigrants.

Indicated prevention activities primarily include individual or group counselling and referrals to other specialised services for students with psychological, emotional and social problems, or special learning needs. In addition, three telephone helplines are operated by the drug prevention services to provide information, brief counselling, crisis management and referrals.

In 2011 the handbook Drug prevention: Guidelines and intervention planning was issued, which should assist prevention professionals in planning and evaluating their interventions. The OKANA Training and Supervision Centre provides further training to prevention professionals. In-depth evaluations of prevention programmes remain rare.

See the Prevention profile for Greece for more information. 

Problem drug use

Content for problem drug use: 

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

Since 2002 annual estimates of the high-risk drug-using populations have been made based on the capture–recapture method applied to three drug treatment data sources. In 2014 the estimated number of high-risk opiate users (whose primary drug was heroin) was 17 245 (95 % confidence interval (CI): 15 098–19 781), or 2.43 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (95 % CI: 2.13–2.79). These figures are below the estimates reported in 2009–13.

In 2014 the estimated number of drug users who had injected within the past month was 5 120 (95 % CI: 4 209–6 303). This corresponds to a rate of 0.72 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (95 % CI: 0.59–0.89), which is lower than in 2009–13. The available annual estimates for Greece suggest that the population sizes of high-risk drug users have fallen from the peak observed in 2009.

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

Treatment demand

Content for treatment demand: 

Treatment demand data in Greece are collected through a well-established network of state-authorised treatment providers, excluding private clinics. In 2014 some 81 outpatient and 11 inpatient centres and two low-threshold agencies submitted treatment demand data.

In 2014 a total of 4 740 individuals entered treatment, of which 1 931 were new clients entering treatment for the first time. About to two-thirds of clients entered treatment through an outpatient service. For 69 % of all treatment clients the primary substance of abuse was opioids (mainly heroin), followed by cannabis at 22 % and cocaine at 5 %. Among new treatment clients the primary substance of abuse was opioids at 55 % (mainly heroin), followed by cannabis at 36 % and cocaine at 5 %. It should be noted that the proportion of those demanding treatment due to opioid use has been declining, while the proportion of cannabis-related treatment demands has been increasing. However, a substantial proportion of treatment clients reported using two or more psychoactive substances, with cannabis, prescription medicines and cocaine being the most frequently reported secondary substances. While smoking or sniffing were the main modes of substance use, more than a quarter of treatment clients reported injecting a primary drug as the main route of administration. Among all opioid clients 33 % used the drug by injection, while among new treatment clients who used opioids the proportion of injectors was much lower (27 %).

In 2014 the average age of all treatment clients was 33, while new treatment clients were on average 32. With regard to gender, among all and new treatment clients 85 % were male and 15 % were female.

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

Drug-related infectious diseases

Content for drug-related infectious diseases: 

A national drug-related infectious diseases (DRID) network, which collects data on infectious diseases among people who inject drugs (PWID), has been operating in Greece since 2000. The network includes reference points — such as treatment centres, low-threshold services and public health laboratories/reference centres — that provide individual or aggregated data annually to the Greek national focal point about the results of drug users entering treatment and tests for hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In 2012–13 a serobehavioural study among PWID was implemented in Athens.

Surveillance data on the prevalence and incidence of HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) among PWID in Greece are derived from the Hellenic Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (HCDCP-KEELPNO) of the Ministry of Health. Up to 2010 the proportion of new HIV cases linked to injecting drug use remained low at 2–3 %, and the number of newly reported cases ranged from 8 to 22 per year. However, in 2011 the number of notified cases increased eightfold, reaching 266 by the end of the year and indicating an HIV outbreak among PWID. These cases represented 33 % of all newly notified HIV infections (with a known transmission route) in Greece in 2011. In 2012 around 54 % of all newly recorded HIV infections were linked to injecting drug use, while in the following years the proportion reduced to 36 % in 2013 and further to 18 % in 2014 (106 of 599 new HIV cases with a known transmission route, according to data from the Hellenic Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention), indicating a reduction in HIV transmission among PWID compared to 2011–12, when the HIV outbreak was observed.

HIV prevalence among PWID available through the DRID network also indicated an escalation in HIV prevalence rates among the PWID tested, from 0.7–0.8 % registered before 2011 to 6.0–10.7 % in 2013. In 2014 the HIV prevalence rates slightly decreased among treatment entrants ever injecting drugs to 6.4 % in drug-free settings and 8.5 % in treatment settings dominated by opioid substitution therapy (OST) units. In general, the highest HIV prevalence rates are observed among PWID in the Attica region which includes the capital city Athens (HIV prevalence in these areas are 14.9 % and 10.7 %). Albeit based on a low number of cases, a significant increase in HIV prevalence among young drug users (below the age of 25) was attributed mainly to the high prevalence found among this group of PWID residing outside the Athens region. The data from the serobehavioural study indicate that around 20 % of PWID in Athens city centre were HIV positive in the period 2012–13. Among those with less than two years of injecting history the prevalence rates were 23 %. The higher HIV prevalence in OST (relative to other treatment modalities) may be explained by the fact that most people who are HIV positive and use opioids prefer to receive OST, while also having priority in entering OST (in contrast to those testing HIVnegative who have to wait a few years, in the case of Attica, until they enter OST). For further information see: EMCDDA/ECDC (2012), ‘HIV in injecting drug users in the EU/EEA, following a reported increase of cases in Greece and Romania’.

The most recent available information on the prevalence of HBV and HCV among PWID has been derived from those agencies that provided testing data on HBV and HCV. The data indicated that in 2014 infection rates among PWID ranged between 19.4 % and 33.0 % for HBV (based on antiHBc), and the rates were higher among older drug injectors and those with a longer injecting history. With regard to HCV infection, nationwide between 66.7 % and 73.5 % of treatment clients tested positive, while about 80 % of PWID in Athens were HCV positive. HCV prevalence rates were significantly higher among PWID with more than two years of injecting history, compared to recent initiates, and among those aged 35 and over, compared to younger drug users.

In summary, the available data indicate that transmission of HCV and HIV is ongoing among PWID in Greece, and in Athens in particular, but probably – in the case of HIV – at lower rates than in 2011–13.

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

Drug-induced deaths and mortality

Content for drug-induced deaths: 

The Greek national focal point collects data on drug-related deaths from the Narcotics Department of the Public Security Division of the Hellenic Police. These data are based on the results of forensic tests by toxicological laboratories and the Forensic Services of the Ministry of Justice. Data on drug-related deaths are only available for deaths caused by an acute intoxication of drugs. Data extraction and reporting is in line with the EMCDDA definitions and recommendations for special registries.

In 2014 data indicated that there were 76 drug-related deaths recorded in Greece, which indicates relative stabilisation following a significant decline from 2005, when 343 drug-related deaths were reported. However, only 22 of these deaths were confirmed by toxicological analysis by 31 October 2015. The majority of provisionally reported death cases were among males and involved opiates.

In 2012 the drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15–64) was 15.9 deaths per million, similar to the European average of 17.1 deaths per million. In 2013 the number of deaths could not be broken down by age, and therefore the mortality is given for the general population: there were 6.6 deaths per million population in 2012, similar to the European average of 12.1 deaths per million population. Due to reporting delays before consolidation of the drug-induced deaths numbers, no more recent estimate has been calculated

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

Treatment responses

Content for treatment responses: 

An increase in the availability of and access to targeted treatment interventions and a strong focus on the effectiveness of these interventions are among the key priorities of the Greek National Drug Action Plan 2004–16. The treatment is provided by public entities or corporate bodies under private law, all of which are fully or partially funded by the Government (except one programme funded by local authorities).

The main treatment modalities available in Greece are psychosocial interventions (drug-free programmes), OST and detoxification. Treatment is provided on an outpatient and inpatient basis. The outpatient drug treatment modalities that operate in Greece are psychosocial interventions (drug-free treatment programmes) and OST. Outpatient treatment is provided through 85 units in specialises drug treatment centres (20 drug-free outpatient programmes for adults, 11 drug-free outpatient programmes for adolescents, 54 substitution treatment units) and nine units providing support to prisoner (three of them targeting prisoners after release).

In addition, there are 41 counselling centres that provide services separately for adults and adolescents; these are access points for drug treatment for an increasing proportion of drug users. With regard to special treatment programmes, one early intervention programme for cannabis users is integrated into a drug-free outpatient treatment unit for adolescents.

Inpatient treatment is provided by four non-hospital based residential drug treatment units, six therapeutic communities, one unit in prisons and one specialised detoxification structure offering a 21-day treatment programme. Psychosocial treatment, screening of mental health disorders, provision of mental health care, case management and referral to relevant medical and social services are available in a majority of the units.

OKANA is the only organisation to have legal permission to establish, operate and monitor OST programmes. In 2013 a new Operational Framework for the OST Programme was published by OKANA to help rationalise OST treatment across different programmes and support client mobility within the OKANA treatment system. Pharmaceutical substances used in OST are methadone, introduced in 1993, and buprenorphine, introduced in 2002.

In 2011–12 the availability of OST was significantly expanded following a statement in the national plan against addiction, and it has become the most frequently offered treatment option and currently is available in most cities through 56 units. In 2014 three new OST units were opened, two of which were in prison settings. According to the latest available estimates from 2014 a total of 10 226 patients received OST, with buprenorphine-based medication being the predominant medication prescribed for this treatment. No waiting time is normally expected for entering OST, except in the Attica region (Athens) where most opioid users are situated; the estimated waiting time in that area at the end of 2014 was three years.

See the Treatment profile for Greece for additional information. 

Harm reduction responses

Content for harm reduction responses: 

In Greece, low-threshold/harm reduction services are mainly provided by the drug treatment agencies of OKANA and KETHEA, which implement a broad range of interventions in the area of harm reduction and prevention and care for infectious diseases, including overdose prevention. Following an outbreak of HIV infection among PWID in Athens in 2011, treatment and harm reduction service provision has been scaled up, mainly with European funds under the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA). In 2014 the Ministry of Health adopted an Action Plan to respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic among PWID in Athens and the rest of Greece, to enhance the harm reduction response by all involved actors.

In 2014 sterile injecting equipment was provided at 16 different sites, including six fixed locations, six sites serviced by teams of outreach workers and four mobile units. The main development in 2012–13 was the expansion of specific harm reduction programmes beyond the Greater Athens area, with several new low-threshold programmes being opened in Thessaloniki. Approximately 368 000 syringes were distributed at needle and syringe exchange/distribution sites in 2014, which is less than in 2014, but remains almost five times more than in the year preceding the outbreak (61 500 in 2010). In addition to injecting equipment, low-threshold facilities also provided condoms, printed health education and information materials and training in safe use and first aid to drug users. It is estimated that in 2014 needle and syringe programmes served more than 5 460 PWID, which is five times more than in 2010 (1 080), but fewer than in 2013 (7 128 clients). The decrease in 2014 in the number of syringes distributed, and also clients reached, is attributed to re-focusing the work of three mobile sites towards the needs of immigrants.

The street outreach programmes provide printed information about the services available to drug users, how to prevent infectious diseases and safer use practices; they also distribute clean syringes and condoms. In 2013–14 a special outreach programme, ‘Boulle de neige’, was organised in Athens and Thessaloniki to disseminate information on the availability of services among marginalised and hidden populations of PWID. Low-threshold programmes offer infectious diseases testing; and vaccination against hepatitis A and B viruses is also available free of cost in low-threshold facilities in Athens.

See the Harm reduction overview for Greece for additional information. 

Drug markets and drug-law offences

Content for Drug markets and drug-law offences: 

Heroin originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan is smuggled into Greece through the Balkan route. Data from 2014 suggest that the heroin seized comes mainly from Turkey, Bulgaria, Albania. Cannabis is the only substance produced in Greece to meet domestic needs. Raw cannabis produced in Albania passes through Greece by land in transit and usually leaves Greece through ports to neighbouring European countries. Cocaine is smuggled into Greece mainly by sea directly from South America or through intermediate ports in Spain, the Netherlands and Italy, and is mainly intended for transit to other European countries.

According to the Central Anti-Drug Coordinating Unit, the quantities of seized herbal cannabis increased significantly in 2011 compared to 2007–10, and have remained relatively stable since then. Thus, in 2014 a total of 19 567.69 kg of herbal cannabis was seized. Quantities of seized cannabis plants increased up to 2012, but in 2013 and 2014 the annual amount seized fell. Following a period of a significant decline in the quantity of heroin seized between 2010–13, in 2014 a record amount of 2 528.738 kg was reported. This more than tenfold increase between 2013–14 is attributed to one large heroin seizure in Athens. The amount of cocaine seized shows significant annual variations, and in 2013 the amount seized increased by more than threefold compared to 2012 (706 kg and 201 kg respectively), while in 2014 it returned to the levels of 2012 with total of 297.221 kg seized. A significant increase in the amount of ecstasy seized was reported in 2014, with 102 299 tablets and 9.397 kg of substance seized, which appears to be the highest reported amount since 2006. Other opioids seized include fentanyls (31.4 kg and 19 tablets), buprenorphine (1 637 tablets and 0.1 kg) and methadone (11.7 kg and 53 tablets).

Data on drug-law offences are collected by the Hellenic Police and other prosecution authorities. In 2014 a total of 14 589 people were reported involved in 22 422 drug-law offences, which is more than in 2013. More than half of the offences were related to cannabis, followed by heroin- and cocaine-related drug-law offences.

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

National drug laws

Content for National drug laws: 

The Greek drug law of 1987 and its amendments were significantly modified in 1993, 2006, 2009 and 2013. The law distinguishes between drug possession/acquisition for personal use and for commercial use, and the punishment varies accordingly. In general, the 2013 (L. 4139/2013) law establishes more lenient sanctions. It stipulates that individuals using drugs or obtaining or otherwise processing drugs for personal use only, in quantities to satisfy their own needs only, or cultivating cannabis plants in numbers and areas justified for personal use only, can be sentenced to no more than five months in prison. The offence is not recorded on the offender’s criminal records on condition that they do not commit a relevant offence for a five-year period. Upon the order of the investigating judge, offenders may be admitted to a special treatment unit operating in the prison setting, or a community drug treatment programme operating in a lawfully recognised agency (the law states the recognised drug agencies). For offenders who are undergoing treatment, the execution of the penalty can be suspended. The 2013 amendment also abolished all quantities of substances defined for personal use in the previous law; this decision is now left to judges, based on considerations about substance, quantity, purity and the needs of the offender.

Traffickers may be sentenced to at least eight years’ imprisonment, with a life sentence possible in very special cases, such as trafficking by medical professionals, teachers, drug therapists, etc. There is also a fine of EUR 50 000–500 000, reaching EUR 1 000 000 in special cases. The Greek drug law also states that the drug-dependent offender charged with drug dealing can be considered for conditional release, provided that he/she: (i) has served a minimum one-fifth of the sentence; and (ii) has successfully and certifiably completed drug treatment. He/she is then referred to reintegration structures outside prison.

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

National drug strategy

Content for National drug strategy: 

The current Greek drug policy document is the National Action Plan Against Dependence 2011. Focusing on illicit drugs, the National Action Plan is comprehensive and balanced, covering the same pillars as the European Union drug strategy: coordination, demand reduction, supply reduction, international cooperation, training, research and evaluation. There are two priorities: (i) the development of more treatment places on opiate substitution treatment programmes in order to eliminate waiting lists; and (ii) improving the coordination of drug policy through changes at the institutional level.

The National Committee for the Coordination and Planning of Drugs Responses, convened under the chairmanship of the National Drug Coordinator, drafted a new National Strategy on Drugs (2014–20) and a new Action Plan (2014–16). Pending final approval of the draft Strategy and Action Plan, the 2011 Action Plan remains in force, while implementation of measures set out in the new draft Strategy is also underway, given that the actions cover ongoing work.

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Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

Content for Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs: 

Established by law 4139/13, the new drug coordination scheme consists of three levels: at the top is the Inter-ministerial Committee on the Drugs Action Plan, the main drug policymaking body in Greece. The Committee has several responsibilities, including the approval of drug action plans, coordination of the agencies involved in implementing action plans, and the evaluation of action plans. It is chaired by the Prime Minister and includes the Ministers of Health and Social Solidarity, Interior, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Education, Employment and Social Security, Justice, Citizen’s Protection, Culture and Tourism and the President of the All-Party Parliamentary Committee for Social Affairs.

At the second level is the National Committee for the Coordination and Planning of Drugs Responses, comprised of representatives from 10 ministries, from the major drug agencies and the national focal point and tasked with drafting the new action plan, overseeing its coordination, implementation and monitoring, and developing international cooperation.

At the third level is the National Drug Coordinator, who chairs the National Committee for the Coordination and Planning of Drugs Responses. The coordinator is appointed by the Prime Minister for a five-year term, with the mandate to chair the National Committee for the Coordination and Planning of Drugs Responses, to draft an Action Plan on Drugs and to represent the country in international bodies related to drugs. The National Drug Coordinator is a member of the Inter-ministerial Committee on the Drugs Action Plan, and presents the draft Action Plan on Drugs for endorsement.

Public expenditure

Content for Public expenditure: 

The mid-term action plan (2011–12) had, for the first time, an associated budget. This document also provided the only comprehensive estimate of planned labelled and executed drug-related expenditure (1). However, details are not provided on either the methodology or the comprehensiveness of the data.

According to authorities, over the 2011–12 period planned labelled drug-related expenditure was close to 0.07 % of gross domestic product. Despite the lack of comparable data for executed expenditure, the partial data that is available mostly concerns the funding of the health sector, and it indicates that public austerity has negatively affected the financing of drug related services and, therefore, there are indications that drug-related expenditure declined markedly in Greece, between 2011 and 2014.

Finally, public austerity does not seem to have ended. Furthermore, since some drug-related initiatives have been co-financed by European funds, with programmes that might no longer be available in the future, there are concerns that this financing may have been reduced further in the years that followed. However, the available data do not allow further reporting on trends in drug-related public expenditure in Greece.

  • (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.

Drug-related research

Content for Drug-related research: 

The national drug strategy anticipates a scientific approach to the drugs problem through monitoring, evaluation and research. Several governmental sources provide funding, mainly to university departments and a major treatment centre that is also active in the research field. The majority of the research that is conducted is epidemiological, but clinical research on treatment, amongst other types of research, is also carried out. Each year the national focal point collects information about all the drug- and alcohol-related scientific papers by Greek authors published either in Greece or abroad and publishes the Greek bibliography on drugs and alcohol. Recent drug-related studies focused primarily on the prevalence, incidence and consequences of drug use.

See Drug-related research for more detailed information. 

Key national figures and statistics

Content for 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, 2014.

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   EU (28 countries) Source
Population  2014 10 926 807 506 944 075 bep Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2014 10.4 %  11.3 % bep Eurostat
25–49 35.5 %  34.7 % bep
50–64 19.0 % 19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2014 73 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2012 31.6 % p 28.6 % p Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2015 24.9 % 9.4 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2015 49.8 % 20.3 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2014 110.1  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2014.1
At risk of poverty rate 5  2014  22.1 % 17.2 %  SILC

Data sheet — key statistics on the drug situation

Content for Data sheet: 

        EU range      
  Year   Country data Min. Max.      
Problem opioid use (rate/1 000) 2014   2.4 0.2 10.7      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   69.2% 4% 90%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   55.3% 2% 89%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) 2014   51.7% 7% 52%      
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) :   : EUR 23 EUR 140      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   1.0% 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2004   0.2% 0% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2004   0.1% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   5.1% 0% 38%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   5.2% 0% 40%      
Purity (%) 2014   51.2% 20% 64%      
Price per gram (EUR) :   : EUR 47 EUR 107      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   2.0% 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2004   0.1% 0% 3%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2004   0.0% 0% 1%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.4% 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.7% 0% 75%      
Purity (%) :   : 1% 49%      
Price per gram (EUR) :   : EUR 3 EUR 63      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   2.0% 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2004   0.4% 0% 6%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2004   0.2% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.1% 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.1% 0% 2%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) 2012   73 mg 27 mg 131 mg      
Price per tablet (EUR) :   : EUR 4 EUR 16      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   8.0% 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2004   3.2% 0% 24%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2004   1.7% 0% 11%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   22.3% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   36.5% 7% 77%      
Potency — herbal (%) :   : 3% 15%      
Potency — resin (%) :   : 3% 29%      
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) :   : EUR 3 EUR 23      
Price per gram — resin (EUR) :   : EUR 3 EUR 22      
Prevalence of problem drug use                
Problem drug use (rate/1 000) :   : 2.7 10.0      
Injecting drug use (rate/1 000) 2014   0.7 0.2 9.2      
Drug-related infectious diseases/deaths                
HIV infections newly diagnosed (cases / million) 2014   9.3 0.0 50.9      
HIV prevalence (%) 2014   6.4 -8.5 0% 31%      
HCV prevalence (%) 2014   66.7 - 73.5 15% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) :   : 2.4 113.2      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed 2014   368 246 382 7 199 660      
Clients in substitution treatment 2014   10 226 178 161 388      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2014   4 740 271 100 456      
New clients 2014   1 931 28 35 007      
All clients with known primary drug 2014   4 697 271 97 068      
New clients with known primary drug 2014   1 916 28 34 088      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences 2014   22 422 537 282 177      
Offences for use/possession 2014   16 872 13 398 422      

Additional sources of national information

Contact information for our focal point

Address and contact: 

University Mental Health Research Institute

Soranou tou Efesiou, 2
(PO Box 66 517)
GR-15601 Athens
Tel. +30 2106536902
Fax +30 2106537273

Head of national focal point: Ms Manina Terzidou

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