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Poland country overview — a summary of the national drug situation



Poland country overview
A summary of the national drug situation

Map of Poland

Our partner in Poland

The Polish national focal point (Centrum Informacji o Narkotykach i Narkomanii) was established in 2001 and is located within the National Bureau for Drug Prevention under the auspices of the Ministry of Health. The National Bureau for Drug Prevention is a state institution established to implement Poland’s drug policies in the drug demand reduction field. The legal basis for the national focal point and its activity is provided by a Parliamentary Act. Read more »

National Bureau for Drugs Prevention - Ministry of Health

Dereniowa 52/54
PL - 02 776 Warsaw
Tel. +48 226411501
Fax +48 226411565

Head of focal point: Mr Artur Malczewski

Our partner in Poland

National Bureau for Drugs Prevention - Ministry of Health

Dereniowa 52/54
PL - 02 776 Warsaw
Tel. +48 226411501
Fax +48 226411565

Head of focal point: Mr Artur Malczewski

The Polish national focal point (Centrum Informacji o Narkotykach i Narkomanii) was established in 2001 and is located within the National Bureau for Drug Prevention under the auspices of the Ministry of Health. The National Bureau for Drug Prevention is a state institution established to implement Poland’s drug policies in the drug demand reduction field. The legal basis for the national focal point and its activity is provided by a Parliamentary Act.

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Drug use among the general population and young people

Four general population surveys on the use of psychoactive substances have been conducted so far in Poland (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2012). The most recent general population survey on drug use was conducted among 3 428 people aged 15–64. Cannabis had the highest lifetime prevalence, at 12.2 %. This was followed by amphetamines at 2.9 %, ecstasy at 1.1 %, and cocaine at 0.9 %. Last year prevalence of cannabis use was about 3.8 % and last month prevalence was 1.8 %. In terms of age distribution, the highest proportion of use was found among young adults under the age of 35. Lifetime prevalence of cannabis use among young adults was reported at 20.6 %, last year prevalence at 8.1 % and last month prevalence at 3.9 %. With regard to gender, males reported the use of any illicit drug more frequently than females. The survey reports that about 1.4 % of respondents had ever used new psychoactive substances, with males reporting six times higher lifetime prevalence rates than females (2.4 % and 0.4 % respectively).

The 2012 data indicate that the sharp rise in drug use prevalence between 2006 and 2010 has halted, or there may even have been a decreased.

A comparison between European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) studies conducted in Poland among 15- to 16-year-old students from 1995 to 2011 shows that the lifetime prevalence of cannabis use varied from 8 % in 1995 to 14 % in 1999, and increased to 18 % in 2003. The latest ESPAD results, for 2011, showed a further increase to 23 %. Lifetime prevalence for inhalants was 8 % (6 % in 2007), for amphetamines 4 %, and for cocaine and hallucinogens 3 %. For all other substances it was 2 % or less (for GHB it was 1 %). Last year prevalence of cannabis use was 19 % in 2011 (12 % in 2007), and last month prevalence was 10 % (6 % in 2007). With regard to gender, lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 28 % among males and 18 % among females, and had increased since 2007 for both groups. The results of the Health Behaviour Survey in School-aged Children (HBSC), conducted in 2010, indicated lifetime prevalence rates of cannabis use at 19 % among 15- to 16-year-olds, with males having considerably higher rates than females.

In 2009–12 Poland was one of the few European countries to conduct an estimation of the population of drug users based on the study of sewage water in four cities.

Some other studies examining drug use prevalence among the general population and young people are reported in the 2014 National report for Poland.

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 estimates of the number of people with high-risk opioid use were calculated in Poland in 2012 based on 2009 treatment data, and using the treatment multiplier method within the framework of a 2010 country-wide population survey. It was estimated that there were 15 119 high-risk opioid users (range: 10 444–19 794), which corresponds to a rate of 0.56 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (range: 0.38–0.73).

The same study has also estimated that there were 79 500 high-risk drug users in Poland (range: 56 000–103 000), or 2.93 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (range: 2.1–3.8). This is a decline in comparison to a previous calculation in 2005 that estimated 100 000–125 000 problem drug users.

Based on general population survey data from 2012 it has been estimated that 0.1 % of 15- to 64-year-olds used cannabis daily or almost daily.

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

Treatment demand

Information on the number of individuals admitted to residential treatment for drug addiction in Poland has been collected since 2010 by the National Bureau for Drug Prevention (which is also the national focal point) through a centralised system of electronic or paper-based data reporting from the treatment centres. The national focal point collects data on clients in treatment in the framework of the treatment demand indicator (TDI), which was a pilot project until the end of 2013. Following an Act of Law and Ordinance of the Minister of Health, since January 2014 the collection of TDI data by treatment facilities has been obligatory. Another relevant source of data on drug patients is the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology (IPN), which has been collecting data for many years from residential treatment facilities (mainly psychiatric hospitals) on people with drug related problems. However, the data collected by the IPN are only partially in line with the EMCDDA guidelines.

In 2013, data were submitted by 25 outpatient and 22 inpatient treatment units on 2 759 clients admitted to treatment, of whom 1 118 were new clients entering treatment for the first time. Those data cover around 15 % of specialised treatment centres in Poland. Data from the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology for 2012 showed that 14 526 clients were admitted to inpatient treatment.

According to the TDI data collected in 2013 some 33 % of all treatment clients reported cannabis as their primary drug, followed by stimulants at 29 % (one in ten using the substance by injecting) and opioids at 26 % (more than half using the substance by injecting). A slightly different pattern is observed among new treatment clients — 52 % were admitted to treatment for cannabis use, 27 % for stimulants and 8 % for opioids. Among new treatment clients less than a half of opioid users injected the substance.

The mean age among all treatment clients was 27 years, while new treatment clients were slightly younger – on average 24 years old, which is the lowest mean age reported for new treatment entrants among all reporting countries. With regard to gender, among all treatment clients 81 % were male and 19 % were female. Among new treatment clients 78 % were male and 22 % were female.

Caution must be exercised when interpreting data as the current national monitoring system involves around 15 % of drug treatment centres. In particular, data on trends should be interpreted with caution because of the change in the reporting system.

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

Drug-related infectious diseases

In Poland, data regarding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is collected by the National Institute of Public Health–National Institute of Hygiene. The Institute analyses data reported by Provincial Sanitary and Epidemiological Stations (Sanepid) for the whole country.

Up to the end of 2013 a total of 17 662 HIV infections had been notified by the National Institute of Public Health, and a third of these were among people who inject drugs (PWID). The number of newly reported cases of HIV infections among PWID declined between 2006–13 (127 cases in 2006; 91 in 2007; 52 in 2008; 56 in 2009; 41 in 2010; 65 in 2011; 42 in 2012 and 39 in 2013). However, there is a risk that the number of cases has been underestimated, as the transmission route for a large percentage of cases is not reported. The estimated prevalence of HIV among 217 PWID tested in 2013 was 4.6 %. This information is collected by the National Institute of Public Health from the laboratories providing diagnostic testing, but it has to be noted that the number of diagnostic tests attributed to PWID in recent years has decreased by 80 % when compared to the number of tests administered in 2007–09.The Institute also collects data on hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Regarding acute HBV infection, three of 81 notified cases in 2013 were among PWID. Regarding HCV infection, about 158 of 2 173 chronic HCV infection cases with a known transmission route in 2012 listed injecting drug use as a possible transmission route, while one of 41 acute HCV cases was linked with injecting drug use.

In a HBV and HCV seroprevalence study conducted among 184 PWID at two sites in 2009, the HCV prevalence ranged between 44.3–72.4 %, while for HBV it was between 26.3–56.7 %.

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

Drug-induced deaths and mortality among drug users

The basic source of information concerning drug-related deaths in Poland is data from the Central Statistical Office (GUS), which is collected based on ICD-10.

Data from the General Mortality Register indicates that the number of drug-induced deaths seems to be relatively stable. In 2012 the total number of drug-induced deaths was 227, indicating an overall downward trend since 2002, when the highest number (324) of drug-induced deaths was reported. In 2012, as in other years, the overwhelming majority of victims were male. The mean age of the deceased was 41.7 years.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15–64) was 7.6 deaths per million in 2011, lower than the European average of 17.2 deaths per million in 2012.

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

Treatment responses

Poland is the central and eastern European country with the longest tradition of therapeutic communities aimed at rehabilitation and prolonged abstinence. The first centre was established in 1978. The role of these communities has superseded the overriding role given to psychiatric institutions in other central and eastern European countries.The implementation of drug treatment falls under the responsibility of communities and provinces, while it is delivered by a range of providers that have signed contracts with the National Health Fund. Funding for drug treatment is primarily covered by health insurance, while uninsured patients can be treated using funding provided by the National Health Fund. There is also an option to receive treatment at private clinics or from private practitioners, but for an additional fee paid by a client/patient.

Drug treatment services are provided through a network of inpatient and outpatient treatment centres, detoxification wards, day-care centres, drug treatment wards in hospitals, mid-term and long-term drug rehabilitation facilities and drug wards in prisons, and post-rehabilitation programmes. In territories where there is no specialised drug treatment service, help can be obtained from mental health counselling or alcohol rehabilitation clinics. In 2013 new standards for accreditation of residential treatment programmes were approved by the Ministry of Health, and work is underway to develop specific guidelines on accreditation audits.

In line with the public health perspective of drug treatment, the treatment system in Poland has two approaches: ‘drug-free’ treatment (psycho-social models) and pharmacological treatment (i.e. opioid substitution treatment). Of these two, the ‘drug-free’ model prevails and includes therapeutic communities, cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, 12-step programmes, case management and self-help groups. Treatment is provided in two modes: outpatient and residential. Outpatient interventions for users of illicit psychoactive substances are provided through more than 200 addiction counselling centres, day-care centres and consulting points located in large cities. Inpatient treatment, available through around 100 units, is dominated by long-term and mid-term residential treatment that usually lasts no more than one year. Detoxification, which is not a treatment in itself but is the first step to treatment, is provided in detoxification wards and usually lasts for 8–14 days. Outpatient and inpatient drug treatment is mainly delivered by NGOs, followed by public services and private providers. Detoxification is mainly provided by public services, and by private clinics and physicians. Polish post-rehabilitation programmes are also implemented, mainly by NGOs. These are subsidised from the state budgets and with resources from local authorities. In recent years, taking into account the changing profile of the treatment clients, a new treatment programme aimed at cannabis users has been promoted in Poland.

Opioid substitution treatment (OST) is available in Poland, and the first methadone maintenance programme was introduced in 1993. Since 2005 such treatment has only been carried out by public healthcare units that have been granted permission by the governor of the region in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. According to the 2005 drug law, NGOs can also establish and carry out OST, and the first programmes provided by private health centres and facilities were established in 2007. In 2013 some 25 non-prison OST programmes provided services to about 1 725 clients, of whom the majority received methadone as the substituting substance, while buprenorphine-based medications are also available. In addition, 138 clients received OST within seven programmes in 23 prison units.

See the Treatment profile for Poland for additional information.  

Harm reduction responses

Harm reduction activities have been carried out in Poland since 1989 and consist predominantly of needle and syringe programmes, prevention-related educational programmes (including programmes for recreational users), and opioid substitution treatment. Polish decision-makers generally support the idea of harm reduction, which is also reflected in the Drug Act and in the National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction 2011–16 (NPCDA). Programmes are mainly operated by NGOs and based in big cities; they include outreach work at places frequented by drug users and sex workers, homeless shelters, and specialised agencies providing clean injecting equipment, including one mobile service.

In 2013, a total of 13 needle and syringe programmes were operating in 10 cities. The National Bureau co-financed 14 projects in the field, targeting high-risk drug users; local governments also made important contributions to the funding of 34 harm reduction programmes. In 2013 more than 124 000 syringes were distributed to more than 1 600 injecting drug users attending these specialised programmes. However, by 2013 the number of operational syringe and needle exchange programmes in Poland had declined, compared with 2002. This is attributed to a lack of financing; a change in the priorities for harm reduction to target recreational users; some difficulty in retaining staff in needle and syringe programmes; and a possible decline in the number of injecting drug users in Poland.

The National Health Fund intends to systematically increase the availability and reach of programmes aimed at reducing and treating infectious diseases in the next few years, in particular by contracting antiretroviral treatment services, and providing vaccination against HBV and counselling and testing for HCV and HIV.

See the Harm reduction overview for Poland for additional information.  

Drug markets and drug-law offences

The Police Headquarters in Warsaw and the Provincial Police Headquarters report data on drug-law offences. Since 1997 the number of offences related to the illegal production of drugs has been stable, as has the number of reports on the cultivation of poppies or hemp. Since 2000 there has been a continuous increase in the number of offences related to encouraging others to take drugs. In line with a change in the drug law in 2000, the number of drug-law offences has been increasing steadily. In 2006 the number of reported drug-law offences peaked at 70 202, then fell in the two following years to 57 382 offences in 2008. From 2009 the number increased again, and in 2012 the highest number of drug-law offences was registered (76 239 offences). In that year 78.2 % of offences were cannabis-related, 17.3 % were amphetamine-related and 1.4 % were heroin-related.

Poland is both a transit country for drug trafficking from east to west, and the producer of synthetic drugs for the western European markets. Amphetamines, and also recently methamphetamine, are illegally produced in Poland and smuggled to Germany, France, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and is also used in Poland. Heroin from Afghanistan, destined for Germany and the United Kingdom, reaches Poland through both the Balkan and the Silk routes, although the Polish home-made type of heroin, called ‘kompot’, is also used in the national market. An increasing number of Polish citizens have become involved in cocaine smuggling as ‘drug mules’ in recent years, and the substance is also smuggled by sea, for example in containers, and by air. Cannabis is trafficked primarily from the Netherlands; however, it is also increasingly produced domestically.

Cannabis products are involved in the vast majority of seizures, followed by amphetamines. There has been a continued upward trend in the quantity of herbal cannabis seized, from 233 kg in 2003 to 1 489 kg in 2012, while in 2013 the amounts seized fell to 1 242.84 kg. In 2013 a record amount of cannabis resin of 208.39 kg was seized. In addition, police operations dismantled 1 246 plantations, which resulted in the seizure of 69 285 cannabis plants. In 2013 a total of 676 kg of amphetamine was seized, which is an increase compared to 2012 (614 kg) and is the largest amount seized since 2001. In addition, 9.6 kg of methamphetamine was seized in 2013, twice the amounts seized in 2012. In total, 19 amphetamine-producing laboratories were dismantled in 2013. The number of ecstasy tablets seized in 2012–13 remained far below the amounts seized in 2007–08 (31 000–46 000 tablets vs 610 000–651 000 tablets). The largest quantity of cocaine seized was recorded in 2003 at 801 kg, while thereafter the quantity of cocaine seized has fluctuated between the lowest figure of 17 kg in 2005 and the highest figure of 161 kg in 2007. In 2013 a total of 20.6 kg of cocaine was seized, which is ten times less than in 2012, when around 213 kg was seized. In 2012 some 48.7 kg of heroin was seized, which is slightly more than in 2012, but remains below the levels seized before 2010.

New psychoactive substances have become firmly established in the Polish drug scene. In 2013 more than 28 000 products were temporarily seized from the market.  

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

National drug laws

Drug addiction in Poland is regulated by the Act of Law of 29 July 2005 on Counteracting Drug Addiction. The Act generally has a preventive and treatment-oriented character and the stipulated sanctions should not be used against problem drug users. Any drug possession is penalised, even a small amount for personal use, with up to three years’ imprisonment. In minor cases the offender can be fined or ordered to serve a sentence involving limitation of liberty or deprivation of liberty for up to one year. Article 62a, which came into force in 2011, gives the prosecutor and the judge an option to discontinue the criminal procedure towards individuals caught in possession of small amounts of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for private use.

The court may, however, also decide to oblige a sentenced drug user to undergo treatment. The Polish drug law implements the ‘treat rather than punish’ principle. Article 72 allows proceedings to be suspended while an offender is in treatment, and Article 73a allows for breaks in serving the sentence while an individual is in treatment.

Trafficking of drugs is penalised by a fine and imprisonment of between six months and eight years, depending on the gravity of the offence and whether the objective was to receive benefit. In the case of a minor offence, the perpetrator may be fined, subjected to limitation of liberty, or imprisoned for a maximum of one year. In cases where the amount of drugs is substantial, the perpetrator may be imprisoned for up to 12 years.

In 2010, Poland passed an innovative law to penalise the supply of any unauthorised psychoactive substance, as enforced by the State Sanitary Inspectorate. This was revised in 2015 to introduce a list in a Regulation of the Ministry of Health of those substances declared to be psychoactive.

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

National drug strategy

Adopted on 29 July 2005, the Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction is a key legal text in the drugs field in Poland. It sets out, inter alia, the priorities to be addressed in the National Anti-Drug Strategy and Action Plan. On 22 March 2011 the fourth National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction (2011–16) was adopted. Since 2006 the National Programmes have had the status of a legal regulation. Primarily concerned with illicit drugs, the Programme’s general aim is to reduce drug use and drug-related social and health problems. This is achieved through 113 actions assigned to 10 ministries, 24 institutions, provincial pharmaceutical and sanitary inspectorates, provincial and communal governments across the five pillars the Programme is constructed around: (i) prevention; (ii) treatment, rehabilitation, harm reduction and social reintegration; (iii) supply reduction; (iv) international cooperation; and (v) research and monitoring. The transversal nature of the last two pillars is designed to support the implementation of actions in the first three domains. Designed to integrate the majority of anti-drug activities in Poland, the Programme’s implementation is coordinated by the Council for Counteracting Drug Addiction.

Alongside defined timeframes for actions, the Programme establishes aims that should be reflected in anti-drug programmes at the provincial and communal levels, in line with the 2005 Act on Counteracting Drug Addiction. For the years 2011–16 a greater emphasis has been placed on improving the quality of drug prevention programmes and the quality of life of those undergoing treatment, harm reduction and social reintegration measures. The Programme also takes account of changes in the drugs market and addresses domestic cannabis cultivation, the online sale of new psychoactive substances and the illicit trade in chemical precursors.

The National Bureau for Drug Prevention is responsible for evaluating the Programme and mid-term and final evaluations are scheduled for 2014 and 2016 respectively. Alongside its data collection activities on drug demand and supply reduction issues, the Bureau monitors annual implementation of the Action Plan’s measures that the relevant ministries, institutions, provinces and communes are required to comply with. Analysis of the Programme’s implementation is presented annually to the Minister of Health, the Council of Ministers and the parliament.


Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

Established in 2001, the Council for Counteracting Drug Addiction is a coordination and advisory body in the drugs field. It is tasked with monitoring and coordinating government action against drugs, advising the Minister of Health on issues related to the National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction (2011–16), monitoring the implementation of the Programme and cooperating with the bodies undertaking the Programme’s actions. The Council is comprised of undersecretaries of state from the ministries of Health, Interior, Justice, Social Care, National Defence, Agriculture, Education, Public Finances, Foreign Affairs and Science. In order to implement the Programme, the Council uses four teams to addresses issues in the areas of precursors, international cooperation, programme implementation and new psychoactive substances.

The National Bureau for Drug Prevention is a state budget unit subordinated to the Ministry of Health. It is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction and the preparation of an annual report on the state of its implementation. Its activities also include setting priorities in the field of drug prevention. The secretariat of the Council for Counteracting Drug Addiction is located in the Bureau. Attached to the Bureau, the Council for Scientific Research is an advisory body that conducts research and helps to define priorities and needs related to addictions.

Provincial drug coordinators are responsible for the coordination of regional drug policy and the implementation of regional strategies that are legally required to be in line with the National Programme and Action Plan. Provincial experts on drugs and drug addiction collect and exchange information, data and documentation concerning the drug problem. The provincial drug coordinators and experts are often the same person. Every year, provincial experts prepare reports on the drug situation, summaries of which are available on the national focal point website.

Public expenditure

In Poland there are no budgets attached to the national drug programme and there is no systematic review of executed expenditures. Every year there is an attempt to estimate labelled (1) drug-related expenditures. Information is, however, incomplete.The most recent overall estimate, for the year 2011, suggests that labelled drug-related expenditure represents close to 0.01 % of gross domestic product (GDP); i.e., Poland spent an estimated EUR 49 378 597 on drug-reduction activities.

A survey was carried out in 2012 that was designed, among other things, to estimate the funding of all non-governmental organisations dealing with demand reduction in Poland, and to compare the information with an identical exercise done in 2003. Estimates suggest that this funding remained stable at 0.002 % of GDP (EUR 813 000).

Additionally, in 2013, in the course of monitoring the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy communal governments were asked to report spending on drug-reduction initiatives under local drugs strategies. It was found that the drug-related expenditure of local governments amounted to close to EUR 3 832 000 in 2013.

The available information does not allow the proportion that this funding represents of overall demand reduction initiatives nor the trends in drug-related public expenditures in Poland to be reported.

  • (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

Research and monitoring constitutes one of the five main areas of activity presented in the current National Programme for Counteracting Drug Addiction, with the primary objective of providing information to support the National Programme’s implementation. Coordination of the implementation of the National Programme in the area of research and monitoring is carried out by the national focal point in the National Bureau for Drug Prevention (NBDP). The NBDP remains the main body commissioning and financing the implementation of research in the field of drugs and drug addiction, although Poland’s global Scientific Research Committee also represents a funding source for drug-related research. Numerous research projects are conducted on the basis of grants awarded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and by international programmes. Scientific activity in the field of drugs and drug addiction in the scope of statutory activities is also conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology. Moreover, the NBDP supports research into drugs and drug addiction by announcing every year an open research competition where interested bodies are welcome to offer their research projects.

Scientific activity in the field of drugs and drug addiction in the scope of statutory activities is conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, but the national focal point, the National Institute of Public Health–National Institute of Hygiene, universities and research agencies functioning on the Polish market also carry out research projects. Research findings are disseminated through scientific journals, websites and national focal point activities, which also include the publication of a newsletter, a dedicated website and participation in conferences. Recent drug-related studies mentioned in the 2014 Polish National report mainly focused on aspects related to prevalence, incidence and patterns of drug use, responses to the drug situation and supply and markets, but research on the consequences of drug use was also mentioned.

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).

  Year   EU (28 countries) Source
Population  2014 38 017 856 506 824 509 ep
Population by age classes 15–24  2014 12.4 %  11.3 % bep
25–49 36.4 %  34.7 % bep
50–64 21.3 %
19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2013 67 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2012 18.1 % p 29.5 % p Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2014 9.0 % 10.2 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2014 23.9 % 22.2 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2013 205.0  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2013
At risk of poverty rate 5  2013 17.3 % 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) 2009 1 0.6 0.2 10.7      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2013   26.4% 6% 93%   3 21
New clients entering treatment (%) 2013   8.2% 2% 81%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) 2012   25% - 50% 6% 42%      
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) 2013 2 EUR 25 - EUR 50 EUR 25 EUR 158      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   3.0% 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2012   0.3% 0% 4% 2%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2012   0.2% 0% 2% 1% 3 26
All clients entering treatment (%) 2013   2.4% 0% 39%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2013   1.9% 0% 40%      
Purity (%) :   : 20% 75%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2013   EUR 52 EUR 47 EUR 103   4 24
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   4.0% 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2012   1.4% 0% 3% 1%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2012   0.6% 0% 1% 1% 15 25
All clients entering treatment (%) 2013   25.9% 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2013   22.0% 0% 22%      
Purity (%) 2013   13.0% 5% 71%   11 25
Price per gram (EUR) 2013   EUR 8 EUR 8 EUR 63   1 21
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   2.0% 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2012   0.3% 0% 3% 1%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2012   0.1% 0% 2% 1% 2 25
All clients entering treatment (%) 2013   0.2% 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2013   0.1% 0% 4%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) :   : 26 mg 144 mg      
Price per tablet (EUR) 2013   EUR 3 EUR 3 EUR 24   1 19
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   23.0% 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2012   12.1% 0% 22% 12%    
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2012   3.8% 0% 11% 6% 12 27
All clients entering treatment (%) 2013   33.4% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2013   51.6% 5% 80%      
Potency — herbal (%) 2013   9.8% 2% 13%   15 22
Potency — resin (%) :   : 3% 22%      
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) 2013   EUR 8 EUR 4 EUR 25   8 19
Price per gram — resin (EUR) 2013   EUR 13 EUR 3 EUR 21   16 21
Prevalence of problem drug use                
Problem drug use (rate/1 000) 2009 3 2.9 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   1.0 0.0 54.5      
HIV prevalence (%) 2013   4.6% 0% 49%      
HCV prevalence (%) :   : 14% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) 2012   5.9 1.5 84.1      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed 2013   124 406 124 406 9 457 256      
Clients in substitution treatment 2013   1 725 180 172 513      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2013   2 759 289 101 753      
New clients 2013   1 118 19 35 229      
All clients with known primary drug 2013   2 740 287 99 186      
New clients with known primary drug 2013   1 114 19 34 524      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences :   : 429 426 707      
Offences for use/possession :   : 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, Fentanyl illicit users from Population study and treatment data.

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

3 - The original age range of the study refers to all ages, the rates were adjusted to ages 15–64

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: Tuesday, 07 July 2015