Norway Country Drug Report 2019

Drug markets

Cannabis is the most commonly seized drug in Norway. The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden and Germany are important countries in relation to cannabis resin distribution to Norway, but Poland has recently also emerged as a transit country for this drug, with customs reporting large seizures arriving from Poland via Sweden. Herbal cannabis is reportedly smuggled from Sweden, Poland and Denmark. In addition, some domestic cultivation of herbal cannabis takes place indoors. While no direct evidence exists of domestic production of amphetamines, amphetamine liquid (base), which can easily be processed into amphetamine sulphate, continues to be seized.

Heroin seized in Norway is brought to the country mainly via the Balkan route through Germany and the Netherlands. Cocaine also enters Norway through other European countries in vehicles or using ‘drug mules’. Most amphetamines (predominantly methamphetamine) seized in 2017 in Norway came via Germany, Poland and Sweden. The MDMA/ecstasy that is available on the Norwegian market comes mainly from the Netherlands, via Germany and Poland.

The long-term trend in drug seizures reported by the National Crime Investigation Service indicates an increase in the total number of seizures between 2007 and 2014, followed by a decrease in the following three years (2015, 2016 and 17). The number of cannabis seizures is stable compared with 2016; however, the seized amount was significantly less. In 2017, the quantities of cocaine, MDMA and amphetamines (including methamphetamine) seized remained stable. The quantity of heroin seized was the highest since 2010, although the number of seizures decreased in 2017.

After years of significant increases in the number of new psychoactive substances (NPS) seizures, there has recently been a large decrease. NPS are mainly smuggled into Norway via postal packages, mostly from Spain, Germany and the Netherlands. The most recent data indicate that benzodiazepine-like substances are the most frequently seized NPS, followed by synthetic cannabinoids. Although there is a significant decrease in the number of NPS seizures, new and extremely potent fentanils have emerged on the market.

With regard to law enforcement activities, considerable resources have been allocated to investigations into international trafficking of drugs to Norway and local distribution. This includes extensive international cooperation and information-sharing.

Data on the retail price and purity of the main illicit substances seized are shown in the ‘Key statistics’ section.

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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.