Overview of the use of drug testing programmes in prison settings in a number of European countries


Data last updated: October 2022

Availability and status of drug testing in prison settings in Europe, October 2022

(Brackets) indicate that the status was ongoing at the time of investigation. The source data for this graphic is available in the source table on this page.

This map is based an updated version of Table 7.1 in the Publication Prison and drugs in Europe: current and future challenges (June 2021). The data were initially collected from the EMCDDA’s legal correspondents in EMCDDA reporting countries and its Reitox network of national focal points in 2018 and updated for Cyprus in October 2022.

Imported data
Country Aim/availability Context Administration
Austria Security and treatment OST Healthcare staff
Belgium Treatment Drug-free programme No information
Bulgaria Security Suspicion of use (not applied extensively) Healthcare staff
Croatia Security and treatment On entry, suspicion of use, transfer to another prison, if person is part of treatment programme, on return after each temporary stay outside the prison Prison officers, healthcare staff
Cyprus Security and treatment Suspicion of use, following relevant information, before people’s movements (release, permission, etc.) Prison staff
Czechia Security and treatment On entry, suspicion of use, random, drug-free zone, treatment (OST, mandatory treatment, voluntary treatment) Healthcare staff
Denmark Security and treatment Suspicion of use, external visits, random control, drug-free zone, voluntary treatment Prison staff
Estonia Treatment Random testing No information
Finland Security In 2016 there were 46 000 tests conducted; positive tests result in penalties No information
France Drug testing not available Not available Not available
Germany Security and treatment The system is not nationwide. In some prisons it is conducted in cases of suspicion of new psychoactive substance use Prison officers
Greece Drug testing not available Not available Not available
Hungary Security and treatment Mandatory monthly testing in drug-free wings, upon admission to drug-free wings, and in cases of suspected drug use. Not mandatory but can occur: when returning from outside prison Healthcare staff
Ireland (Security and treatment) Currently planning the introduction of drug testing in prisons, to be applied in the context of OST No information
Italy Treatment On entry (voluntarily) Healthcare staff
Latvia Security Suspicion of use Prison staff
Lithuania Security Suspicion of use Prison officers
Luxembourg Security Suspicion of use (rarely applied) Prison staff or healthcare staff
Malta Security Random testing Healthcare staff
Netherlands Security Transfer to other institutions. Mandatory testing before going on leave No information
Norway Security and treatment Suspicion of use Healthcare staff for body cavity inspection, blood samples. Prison officers for urine samples
Poland Security Suspicion of use Prison officers
Portugal Treatment Random testing. Testing required to access prison privileges. On entry screening if suspicion of use Healthcare staff
Romania Security and treatment For inclusion in a treatment programme and whenever necessary during the programme, on suspicion of use Healthcare staff
Slovakia Security On entry screening. Random testing Healthcare staff
Slovenia Security and treatment Random, if there is reasonable suspicion of being under the influence of drugs, OST/other treatment (Law on Execution of Criminal Sanctions) Prison officers, healthcare staff
Spain Security and treatment As a control for the granting of permits — before, during or upon return — based on a prior commitment with the person in prison; preparation for release (up to 7 days for people with specific requirements). Linked to the therapeutic process in methadone treatment programmes; to adjust doses in OST or cessation programmes. In the case of positive controls, efforts are made to prevent relapse; expulsion from the programme is avoided Healthcare staff
Sweden Security (treatment) On request, to ensure no intoxication Prison officers (or healthcare staff if blood involved)