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Norway country overview — a summary of the national drug situation



Norway country overview
A summary of the national drug situation

Map of Norway

Our partner in Norway

Since January 2001, the Norwegian focal point has been located within SIRUS — Statens Institutt for Rusmiddelforskning (National Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research), an independent and publicly-funded research institute, the director of which is directly appointed by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. Read more »

Norwegian Institute of Public Health

P.O. Box 4404 Nydalen
NO-0403 Oslo

Tel. +47 21077000

Head of focal point: Mr Thomas Anton Sandøy

Our partner in Norway

Norwegian Institute of Public Health

P.O. Box 4404 Nydalen
NO-0403 Oslo

Tel. +47 21077000

Head of focal point: Mr Thomas Anton Sandøy

Since January 2001, the Norwegian focal point has been located within SIRUS — Statens Institutt for Rusmiddelforskning (National Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research), an independent and publicly-funded research institute, the director of which is directly appointed by the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

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Drug use among the general population and young people

Since 1968 a national survey on the use of alcohol and other substances in the general population aged 15 and over has normally been conducted in Norway every five years (Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research/SIRUS). The most recent survey, using face-to-face interviews, was conducted in 2009; the response rate was just 18 %.

As a result of the declining response rates in previous surveys, SIRUS initiated a new annual general population survey in 2012 using telephone interviews, drawing a representative sample aged 16–79 from the population register. Subsamples aged 16–64 consisted of 1 668 respondents in 2012 and 1 790 respondents in 2013. Response rates were 53 % and 57 % respectively. In 2013, the lifetime prevalence of cannabis use among 16–64 olds was 23.7 %, while 5.1 % had used it in the last year and 1.7 % in the last month (in 2012: 19 %; 3.4 %; 1.5 % respectively). Significantly more males than females reported having used cannabis for all three time intervals. Lifetime prevalence was highest among 16- to 34-year-olds (31.7 %), while 16- to 24-year-olds reported the highest last year and last month prevalence rates for cannabis use (12.6 % and 3.3 %). In 2013, higher cannabis prevalence rates for all three time intervals were noted among the adult population than in the similar survey in 2012, but these changes were not statistically significant. The change in prevalence rates should therefore be interpreted with care. The 2013 study confirms that cannabis remains by far the most frequently used illicit drug in Norway, followed by cocaine and amphetamines. The study also examined use of new psychoactive substances, anabolic steroids and illicit prescription drugs. As was the case with cannabis, males reported significantly more frequent use of all other illicit substances, while reported prevalence of illicit prescription drugs was higher among females.

The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) has been regularly repeated in Norway since 1995 among students aged 15–16. A comparison of the data shows that while there was an increase from 1995 to 1999 in lifetime use of illegal drugs, the latest data indicate a decrease. The lifetime prevalence rate of any illicit drug use other than cannabis, inhalants included, was 3 % in 1995; 6 % in 1999; 3 % in 2003. Lifetime prevalence of cannabis use (6 % in 1995; 12 % in 1999) decreased to 6 % in 2007. In 2011, the lifetime prevalence cannabis use was 5 %. The reported lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 6 % among males and 4 % among females. In 2011, lifetime prevalence of inhalants was reported by 5 % of the students. With regards to other substances, lifetime prevalence was reported to be 1 %. Similar to 2007, the 2011 results indicated last year prevalence of cannabis use of 4 % (6 % in 2003), and 2 % for the last month prevalence of cannabis use (3 % in 2003).

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. 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.

The most recent available estimates obtained by means of the mortality multiplier method suggested that there were around 7 700 high-risk opioid users (sensitivity interval: 6 200–10 300) in 2012, corresponding to a rate of 2.32 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (sensitivity interval: 1.86–3.1).

The estimates of populations with injecting drug use are based on the same method. It was estimated that in 2012, there were around 8 400 people who injected drugs (sensitivity interval: 7 200–10 100), a rate of 2.52 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (sensitivity interval: 2.15–3.04). The number of injecting drug users in Norway increased until 2001, after which it declined until 2003, and thereafter appeared to remain stable until 2008, with some indication of decline in the following years. Heroin remains the most prevalent injected substance.

Based on the data from the 2013 national population survey it was estimated that 0.3 % of 16- to 64-year-olds in Norway used cannabis daily or almost daily.

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

Treatment demand

The Norwegian Patient Register (NPR) is authorised by the regulation of 2009 to collect personally identifiable information about patients in the interdisciplinary specialist service, allowing data on treatment demand in Norway to be retrieved and aggregated. So far, only treatment started during a calendar year is reported. It is not specified whether this was the first time a client had received treatment, or whether they had undergone treatment before. The primary drug on admission is recorded using the F-codes in the ICD-10 diagnosis system.

In 2013, according to NPR, 16 892 people received drug treatment. Of those, 8 412 clients entered treatment in the course of 2013, based on reports from 143 units providing inpatient and outpatient care. The majority of clients entered treatment through outpatient units. Around 69 % of the treatment clients were male; the mean age of clients was 35. The most frequently reported primary illicit drug of abuse was opioids (27 %), followed by cannabis (cannabinoids) (20 %) and amphetamines (13 %). However, for nearly a third of all clients, more than one drug (F-19 multiple drug use) was reported as the main problem when entering treatment. There were some differences in the problem drug profile between outpatient and inpatient clients. For those in outpatient treatment cannabis remains the second most prevalent primary drug, while for those in inpatient treatment amphetamines are the second most frequently reported problem substance. Injecting drug use was frequent among those who identified opioid and amphetamines as their primary drug.

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

Drug-related infectious diseases

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections are reported to the Norwegian Notification System for Infectious Diseases (MSIS), a national reporting system. The number of HIV cases among people who inject drugs (PWID) remains relatively low. In 2013 a total of 233 new cases of HIV infection were reported, of which eight cases were PWID. Five of the cases were persons of foreign origin (mainly eastern European) who had been infected before arriving in Norway. The incidence of HIV among PWID has remained at a stable low level over the last decade, with approximately 10–15 cases of HIV infection a year. In 2013, HIV prevalence among 6 842 PWID in contact with health services was about 1.8 %. Despite the relatively stable incidence of HIV among PWID, the data show that there is a high prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections, and the high incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) indicates that there is still extensive needle sharing.

In 2013, there were four acute and 10 chronic HBV cases among PWID (out of a total of 30 and 708, respectively). All PWID attending free syringe distribution centres in Oslo are also offered HBV testing. In 2012 the results showed that 0.9 % of PWID in contact with the syringe programme were infected with HBV (positive HBsAg; 110 people tested). The HCV notification system was launched in 2008 and contains data on all laboratory-confirmed HCV cases, regardless of whether the case is acute or chronic. In 2013 some 1 318 HCV cases were reported, but information on risk factors was missing in almost half of the reported cases, while for 632 of the cases injecting drug use was the suspected risk factor. In 2013 tests on injecting drug users receiving opioid substitution treatment indicated HCV prevalence of 63 % (of 6 342 clients tested), which remains roughly the same as in 2010–12.

In 2013, an outbreak of wound botulism (six cases) was reported among injecting heroin users in Oslo area. Contaminated heroin or other substances mixed with the drug were mentioned as a likely source for the infection.

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

Drug-induced deaths and mortality among drug users

Up to 2010 data on drug-induced deaths were collected by two bodies: Statistics Norway (SSB), based on the General Mortality Register (GMR); and the Special Registry of the National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS). In 2010 NCIS decided to stop publishing these figures. The SSB data are based on medical examiners’ reports, autopsy reports and death certificates in accordance with ICD-10 in the GMR. Data extraction and reporting from the GMR is in line with the EMCDDA definitions and recommendations.

In 2012 a total of 246 drug-induced deaths were recorded in the GMR, compared to 262 in 2011 and 248 in 2010. The available data appear to indicate that, after a reduction following the peak years of 2000 and 2001, the number of deaths has stabilised, although it is still at a substantially high level. The majority of deaths were among males (185 cases). The number of death cases among those who are over the age of 30 has been steadily increasing, while the proportion of death cases among younger people remains fairly stable. In 2012 the mean age of victims was almost 42 years, with female victims older than males (45 and 41 years respectively). Toxicological confirmations were available in nearly all drug-induced deaths, and analysis confirmed that 192 drug-induced deaths in 2012 involved opioids with or without additional drugs. Of these, heroin accounted for only a third of cases. Methadone was involved in a third of opioid-related deaths, indicating an increase from 2010. Two or more psychoactive substances were found to be present in a large proportion of drug-related deaths.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15–64 years) was 69.6 deaths per million in 2013, compared to the European average of 17.2 deaths per million.

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

Treatment responses

Since the reform in drugs policy from January 2004 onwards, the Norwegian state, represented by four regional health authorities, has been responsible for the specialist treatment of drug and alcohol users, while municipalities bear overall responsibility for ensuring mental and somatic health services, outreach outpatient services/community teams, services for next of kin, low-threshold services, assessment and referral to treatment, and follow-up during and after treatment in the specialist health services or in prison. Treatment is mainly financed by public funds. In addition, the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion and the Ministry of Health and Care Services have extraordinary funds at their disposal for the development of special high-priority work in the areas of epidemiology, research, prevention and treatment.

The majority of treatment services available to drug users, whether outpatient or inpatient, treat addiction in general, and are not specifically designed for users of illicit drugs. The treatment and care programmes may be classified into four categories: (i) outpatient functions and assessment units; (ii) detoxification; (iii) inpatient treatment of less than six months; and (iv) inpatient treatment of more than six months. Inpatient treatment includes detoxification, stabilisation and assessment, short- and long-term inpatient treatment.

Opioid substitution treatment (OST) using methadone has been available through a nationwide programme since 1998, while buprenorphine has been available since 2001. In 2010 new national guidelines for OST came into force. These guidelines aim to increase nationwide access to OST as part of a comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation process. Following the guidelines, OST provision is now integrated into health trusts, the specialist care services under the auspices of the regional health authorities, and they have been given the authority to make an overall assessment of treatment need, initiate and follow up the treatment. The health trusts either organise the provision of OST by a unit with a separate management and a dedicated team, or integrate OST as part of an interdisciplinary specialist treatment without separate management. However, the guidelines retain the basic model of a tripartite collaboration comprising social security offices, general practitioners and the specialist health services, where the latter is given authority to assess the OST need, while general practitioners can only operate within strict shared care arrangements with specialised drug treatment centres. Nevertheless, general practitioners play a key role in the provision of OST as they prescribe the medication of about two-thirds of clients. In 2011, further guidance was provided on pregnant women in OST and the follow-up of families until children reach school age.

At the end of 2013 a total of 7 055 clients were in OST, about 43 % of whom were on methadone (3 034), while about 56 % received a buprenorphine/naloxone combination (3 951). The number of OST clients has been increasing steadily by around 500 from year to year, although some reductions in new admissions have been recorded since 2011.

See the Treatment profile for Norway for additional information.  

Harm reduction responses

Interventions in the area of harm reduction in Norway broadly include low-threshold health measures, needle and syringe distribution programmes and outreach work. A national overdose strategy for 2014–17, adopted in 2013, calls for activities to prevent overdose risk to be scaled up and promotes emergency assistance and treatment for drug users. In spring 2014, a trial project of nasal naloxone sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Care Services was launched in Oslo and Bergen. Up to September 2014, more than 170 staff members from low-threshold facilities had been trained and 374 overdose response kits given to drug users. The project will be expanded to training the police and security staff, and staff at detoxification centres, emergency centres and prisons. Results are monitored in cooperation with ambulance services in the two cities.

In Norway the municipalities, supported by the Government grant scheme, are responsible for the organisation of low-threshold measures on the basis of local needs and challenges. Around 50 municipalities have such measures in place. Some have developed the measures in cooperation with voluntary organisations, while others provide them within health and social services. Several municipalities have established a field nursing service involving considerable outreach activity. The services offered are health checks, treatment of sores, vaccinations (including provision of free hepatitis A and B vaccines), distribution of injecting equipment, nutritional and hygiene guidance, prevention of overdoses, general advice and guidance, follow-up and referral to other parts of the health service, etc. In 2012 an estimated three million syringes were distributed to PWID, just over a half of these in Oslo; data for 2013 covering the three largest cities indicate some decrease in syringe demand, in Oslo in particular. Almost all pharmacies in Norway sell needles and syringes to PWID, but the data on these sales are not available.

A drug injecting room in the centre of Oslo, established under a temporary Act, became operational from February 2005. In 2009 the temporary Act was made permanent and municipalities that wish to establish injecting rooms now have a legal basis for doing so. However, only Oslo has so far made use of the Act, by making the facility permanent in 2009. Since that time, around 1 400–1 500 clients have visited it each year and the number of supervised injections has increased from 26 000 in 2009 to 36 000 in 2013.

See the Harm reduction overview for Norway for additional information.  

Drug markets and drug-law offences

According to the Norwegian Customs, most amphetamine in Norway comes from illegal laboratories in Poland and the Baltic states, while crystal methamphetamine is more likely to have been produced in the Czech Republic. Cannabis resin mostly comes from Morocco via the Netherlands or neighbouring Nordic countries. A substantial amount of herbal cannabis detected by the Norwegian Customs comes from Sweden and Poland. Heroin comes from Afghanistan via Hungary, countries in the western Balkans, and the Silk Road via the northern European countries. The most recent data indicate that cocaine enters Norway through postal consignments from the European continent (Poland and Spain). Ecstasy, like cocaine, reaches Norway in postal consignments, mainly from the Netherlands but also from Belgium, Germany and Spain. Smuggling of new psychoactive substances including gamma- hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), khat, tranquilisers, hallucinogens and new psychoactive substances was reported by Customs in 2012–13, mainly from China, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The National Crime Investigation Service provides data on drug seizures. In 2013 cannabis, heroin and amphetamines were seized in all 27 police districts, while cocaine was seized in 26; however, the quantities vary considerably between the districts. The number of drug seizures has continued to increase, but the growth was far smaller than that registered between 2009–10. In 2013 a total of 2 283 kg of cannabis resin was seized, which is the third highest amount seized since 2007. The quantity of herbal cannabis seized has been increasing since the beginning of the century, from less than 50 kg in 2005 to 491 kg in 2013. With regard to cannabis plants, an increase in the number of seizures was noted from 2010, which indicates an increase in small-scale domestic production in Norway, while a reduction in the quantity seized was noted in the reporting period, from 214 kg in 2011; 142 kg in 2012; to 159 kg in 2013.

An increase in the number of amphetamines seizures is largely attributed to a more than tenfold increase in the number of methamphetamine seizures, from 392 in 2001 to 4 210 in 2013, while the number of amphetamine seizures has declined. This indicates that methamphetamine has partly taken over the market for amphetamines. A total of 16 kg of methamphetamine was seized in 2001; 136 kg in 2010; 157 kg in 2011; 131 kg in 2012; and 196 kg in 2013. The number of amphetamine seizures increased from 2 344 in 2012 to 3 019 in 2013, and the amounts seized rose to 318 kg, which is comparable with levels before 2008.

For heroin, there was a reduction in the number of seizures in 2013 compared with 2009–12, while the quantity seized increased in comparison with 2011–12 (55 kg in 2013), but remains below the quantities seized in 2009–10.

In 2013, record amounts of cocaine were seized. The number of cocaine seizures reached 1 086, and 188 kg of substance was seized, which is a fourfold increase when compared to 2011–12 figures.

There is a substantial decline in the amount of ecstasy tablets seized since 2007, when 78 725 tablets were seized. However, in the last years ecstasy is being seized more often, and it is being seized more frequently in the powder rather than tableted form. In the period 2010–13, the number of ecstasy tablets seized ranged from 3 969 in 2010 to 7 298 in 2013. However, in addition almost 3 kg of powder was seized in 2013. There were 620 seizures of new psychoactive substances in 2013.

A total of 48 428 drug-law offences were reported in 2013, which is the highest recorded since 2001. The proportion of use-related and supply-related offences was almost equal, at 52 % and 48 % respectively.

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

National drug laws

In Norway there are no separate laws relating to illicit drugs alone. The use and possession of minor quantities of drugs falls under the provision of the Act on Medicinal Products. Penalties comprise fines or imprisonment for up to six months. The manufacture, acquisition, import, export, storage and trafficking of narcotic drugs are prohibited by Penal Code § 162, the penalty for which is fines and/or imprisonment of up to two years. An offence may also be aggravated, following a special evaluation that will consider what type of substance is involved, its quantity and the nature of the offence. Aggravated drug felonies are punished by up to 10 years’ imprisonment. If a ‘considerable quantity’ is involved, the term of imprisonment may be 3–15 years, and ‘very aggravating circumstances’ may give rise to up to 21 years’ imprisonment. Nevertheless, in Norway, the Act on Sentence Execution § 12 allows for voluntary treatment as an alternative to a prison sentence. This decision is made by the governor of the Prison Service Institutions, while the overriding responsibility lies with the Correctional Services (of the Ministry of Justice). A three-year trial scheme for a drug treatment programme under court control started in 2006. It has since been extended until the end of 2014.

In 2013, a new Regulation relating to narcotics entered in force, including a generic scheduling of ten groups of substances, of which seven include synthetic cannabinoids, covering mainly groups of new psychoactive substances discovered since 2011. Additionally, around 100 new psychoactive substances were added to the list of narcotic substances up to 2014.

In 2012, Norway introduced drug driving limits for 20 narcotic substances and potentially intoxicating medicinal drugs, and sentencing limits have been set for 13 substances.

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

National drug strategy

Launched in June 2012, ‘See me! A comprehensive drugs and alcohol policy’ is a white paper presenting a set of directions for government action on drug issues. Specifically, it covers alcohol, illicit drugs, addictive medications and doping. These substances are addressed through five areas: (i) prevention and early intervention; (ii) coordination — services working together; (iii) greater competence and better quality services; (iv) help for those with severe dependency — reducing the number of overdose fatalities; and (v) efforts aimed at next-of-kin and at reducing harm to third parties.

The white paper considers limiting the availability of drugs and alcohol to be the most effective prevention strategy. This involves a restrictive alcohol policy, combating drugs through prohibition and targeting drug trafficking and organised crime. It supports the further development of opioid substitution programmes to provide greater access to treatment and seeks to reduce open drug scenes. Following the expiry of Norway’s National Action Plan on Alcohol and Drugs 2007–12, the white paper states that strategies should be adopted to cover public health, overdoses and quality standards.

The white paper was reviewed by the Parliament in March 2013 and will be the basis for further drugs and alcohol strategies. It was endorsed with one addition, that there should be a zero vision concerning overdose deaths. In line with this, the Parliament endorsed the call for a strategy to address overdoses. The Directorate of Health has thereafter been tasked with the development of a five-year overdose strategy. The strategy will, among several other things, contain measures aimed at changing drug-using culture, getting users to smoke heroin instead of injecting it to reduce overdoses and blood-borne virus transmission.

An additional white paper on public health was sent to the Parliament subsequently. It aims to improve the health of the Norwegian population, and includes a focus on mental health and drug and alcohol problems.


Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

The Ministry of Health and Care Services is responsible for the overall coordination of the alcohol and drug policy, while each ministry is responsible for its respective areas. The Directorate of Health is responsible for the overall day-to-day coordination of the alcohol and drug policy.

The Directorate of Health is the government’s primary advisor in health and social affairs matters. The Directorate is responsible for coordinating national prevention efforts. Its most important responsibility is to ensure that the health and social affairs policies that are adopted are implemented in accordance with the Ministry’s guidelines.

The municipalities are responsible for drug prevention and care services for drug addicts. Four regional health authorities are responsible for providing the necessary specialist health services to the population in their respective regions.

There are seven regional drug and alcohol competence centres responsible for carrying out a broad range of activities. These include assisting municipalities and specialist health services with professional development and initiating measures in conjunction with county governors to facilitate improvements in quality standards. The regional centres are responsible for implementing national and professional guidelines relating to drugs and alcohol.

Public expenditure

The available information does not allow the total size and trends in drug-related public expenditure in Norway to be reported.

In 2012 the specialist health service allocated EUR 480 million for interdisciplinary specialist treatment for drug and alcohol problems. Direct allocations for the drugs and alcohol field have increased by approximately EUR 145.6 million since 2005. In addition, the municipal sector has received a significant financial ‘boost’ that has also benefited the drugs and alcohol field. This has made it possible to develop preventive and assistance measures for people with drug and alcohol problems.

Drug-related research

Norway’s drug-related research covers drugs, alcohol, tobacco and, to a certain extent, gambling. Research into drugs and alcohol is one of the priorities of the government’s investment in research and falls within the objectives of improving quality and developing skills in the drugs and alcohol field. The main funding sources are governmental departments, partly through the Research Council of Norway, and partly through the Directorate of Health. Research is mainly conducted by the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research (SIRUS), the Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research (SERAF) and the Institute of Public Health (biomedicine). Research is also carried out by some university departments and privately funded research institutes. Several websites, including the SIRUS (national focal point) website, disseminate research findings along with scientific and non-scientific national and international journals. Recent drug-related studies mentioned in the 2014 Norwegian National report mainly focused on aspects related to responses to the drug situation, but studies on the prevalence and consequences of drug use were also mentioned.

See Drug-related research for more detailed information. 

Key national figures and statistics

p Eurostat provisional value.

b Break in series.

e Estimated.

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, 2011.

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).

  Year Norway EU (27 countries) Source
Population  2014 5 107 970 506 824 509 ep Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2014 13.1 % 11.3 % bep Eurostat
25–49 34.6 % 34.7 % bep
50–64 18.2 % 19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2013 186 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2012 25.0 % 29.5 % p Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2014 3.5 % 10.2 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2014 7.9 % 22.2 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2013 62.9  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2013
At risk of poverty rate 5  2013 10.9 % 16.6 %  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 2.32 0.2 10.7   10 21
All clients entering treatment (%) 2013   26.9% 6% 93%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 2% 81%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) 2013   17.0% 6% 42%   10 24
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) 2013   EUR 125 EUR 25 EUR 158   20 22
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   1.0% 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2013   2.2% 0% 4% 2%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2013   0.9% 0% 2% 1% 18 26
All clients entering treatment (%) 2013   0.9% 0% 39%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 40%      
Purity (%) 2013   34.0% 20% 75%   8 27
Price per gram (EUR) 2013   EUR 75 - EUR 150 EUR 47 EUR 103      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   1.0% 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2013   1.1% 0% 3% 1%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2013   0.6% 0% 1% 1% 15 25
All clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 22%      
Purity (%) 2013   30.0% 5% 71%   22 25
Price per gram (EUR) 2013 2 EUR 25 - EUR 50 EUR 8 EUR 63      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   1.0% 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2013   1.0% 0% 3% 1%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2013   0.4% 0% 2% 1% 9 25
All clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 4%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) 2013   26 mg 26 mg 144 mg   1 23
Price per tablet (EUR) 2013   EUR 12.5 - EUR 25 EUR 3 EUR 24      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   5.0% 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2013   12.0% 0% 22% 12%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2013   5.1% 0% 11% 6% 18 27
All clients entering treatment (%) :   20.3% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 5% 80%      
Potency — herbal (%) 2012   10.8% 2% 13%   18 22
Potency — resin (%) :   : 3% 22%      
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) 2013 2 EUR 12.5 - EUR 25 EUR 4 EUR 25      
Price per gram — resin (EUR) 2013 2 EUR 12.5 - EUR 18.8 EUR 3 EUR 21      
Prevalence of problem drug use                
Problem drug use (rate/1 000) :   : 2.0 10.0      
Injecting drug use (rate/1 000) 2012 3 2.5 0.2 9.2      
Drug-related infectious diseases/deaths                
HIV infections newly diagnosed (rate/million) 2013   1.6 0.0 54.5      
HIV prevalence (%) 2012/2013   1.8% 0% 49%      
HCV prevalence (%) 2012/2013   63.0% 14% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) 2012   48.7 1.5 84.1      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed 2013   1 956 774 124 406 9 457 256      
Clients in substitution treatment 2013   7 055 180 172 513      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2013   8 412 289 101 753      
New clients :   : 19 35 229      
All clients with known primary drug 2013   8 412 287 99 186      
New clients with known primary drug :   : 19 34 524      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences 2013   48 428 429 426 707      
Offences for use/possession 2013   25 310 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 - Problem heroin users. Interval is based on a sensitivity analysis.

2 - Data presented are the minimum and maximum value recorded.

3 - Heavy drug users injecting at least once during the calendar year.

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, 06 January 2016