Estonia Country Drug Report 2018

Drug laws and drug law offences

National drug laws

The Act on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and Precursors Thereof regulates the field of narcotics and psychotropic substances in Estonia. Under this law, unauthorised consumption of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances without a prescription, or illegal manufacture, acquisition or possession of small quantities of any narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, is punishable by a fine (usually determined by the police) or by detention for up to 30 days. However, proceedings for misdemeanours may be suspended for reasons of expediency.

Any act of illegal possession or dealing in drugs not intended solely for personal use is considered a criminal offence, regardless of the type and amount of illicit drug. Activities such as illegal manufacture, acquisition, theft or robbery, storage, transport or delivery of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances with the intent to supply are punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment for the smallest quantities, and by 6-20 years’ imprisonment or even life, depending on the quantities involved and other defined aggravating circumstances, such as organised crime.

In 2011, the parliament adopted a legal basis for the implementation of drug treatment as an alternative to punishment for drug users. Treatment is an alternative to prison only if the offender is sentenced to imprisonment for a period of six months to two years and agrees to undergo the treatment course.

Historically, new psychoactive substances (NPS) were primarily regulated by amending the four schedules of licit and illicit narcotic and psychotropic substances to add each new substance individually. In 2013, Schedule V was added in order to regulate trade in NPS with legitimate industrial uses, such as γ-butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD).

Sale of substances in this schedule is an offence when a substance is sold with the intention to cause intoxication. In 2016, Schedule VI was added; it includes 15 substance groups. Substances, their isomers, salts and ethers that belong in these groups do not need to be listed individually and are controlled automatically.


Drug law offences

Drug law offence (DLO) data are the foundation for monitoring drug-related crime and are also a measure of law enforcement activity and drug markets dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.

A total of 5 653 initial reports on DLOs (criminal offences and misdemeanours) were made in 2016, which was more than in 2014 and 2015. Around 8 out of 10 reported DLOs were related to use and possession.


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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.