Bulgaria Country Drug Report 2019

Drug laws and drug law offences

National drug laws

The Narcotic Substances and Precursors Control Act, implemented in 2010, sets out drug coordination mechanisms and specifies the entities involved in drug-related activities. It also refers to the lists of controlled substances and plants.

The Penal Code takes into account the differences between high-risk and moderate-risk substances. Drug use is an administrative offence and the use of high-risk drugs (List 1) is punishable by a fine of between BGN 2 000 (EUR 1 023) and BGN 5 000 (EUR 2 257). Possession of small amounts, such as one cannabis cigarette, 1 g of cocaine or five ecstasy pills, is considered a minor offence and incurs a fine of up to BGN 1 000 (EUR 511); possession of larger amounts of high-risk substances is punishable by 1-6 years’ imprisonment and of moderate-risk substances by up to 5 years’ imprisonment.

Trafficking carries penalties of imprisonment for 2-8 years for high-risk substances and 1-6 years for moderate-risk substances, but particularly large amounts or other aggravating circumstances can result in prison sentences of up to 15 years. Large amounts are determined by their monetary values in multiples of minimum monthly salaries.

New psychoactive substances are regulated following a decision of the National Drug Council and controlled under the relevant lists of the Regulation on Classification of Plants and Substances as Narcotics.

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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 market dynamics; they may be used to inform policies on the implementation of drug laws and to improve strategies.

In Bulgaria, the available data indicate that, in 2017, 2 433 DLOs were reported, the vast majority of which were related to drug supply.

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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.