Austria country overview

Austria country overview

Map of Austria

About NFP: 

The national focal point is located within the Austrian Public Health Institute (Gesundheit Österreich GmbH), an NGO funded by the Federal Ministry of Health. The Austrian Public Health Institute has three business units, carrying out research, planning, monitoring and reporting activities (within the business unit ÖBIG), developing, implementing and evaluating a nationwide quality system for healthcare (within the business unit BIQG) and promoting and financing health promotion activities (within the business unit FGÖ). The national focal point is located within the working area ‘prevention’ in ÖBIG.

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Last updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Drug use among the general population and young people

Content for prevalence: 

In 2004 and 2008 representative surveys on the prevalence and patterns of use of licit and illicit narcotic substances were carried out in Austria on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Health. In 2008 a total of 4 196 people over the age of 14 were interviewed about their experience of licit and illicit psychoactive substances. Cannabis was the most frequently used illicit substance reported by 15- to 64-year-olds, followed by amphetamines and ecstasy. Among those aged 15–34 the lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 19.2 %, followed by ecstasy at 3.3 % and amphetamines at 3.1 %. Only cannabis showed a last 12 month prevalence rate above 1 % (at 3.5 %) among all participants, while among those aged 15–34 the prevalence for cannabis use was 6.6 %, followed by 1.2 % for cocaine and 1.0 % for amphetamine. Lifetime, last 12 month and last 30 days prevalence rates in the 2008 survey were lower for almost all drugs compared to the 2004 survey. However, it is likely that the main reasons for the change in prevalence relate to the methodology, rather than to an actual reduction.

In 2007 the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) among 15- to 16-year-old pupils found an estimated lifetime prevalence of 17 % for cannabis use, followed by 14 % for volatile substances and other inhalants. Amphetamines and cocaine were less frequently used. Lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was higher among males (19 %) than females (15 %). Last year prevalence of cannabis use among all respondents was 14 %, and last month prevalence was 7 %. In 2003 lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 21 %, and for volatile substances and other inhalants it was 14 %. According to data from the 2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, about 12 % of boys and 7% of girls aged 15 years reported ever having used cannabis.

Look for Prevalence of drug use in the 'Statistical bulletin' for more information 


Content for prevention: 

In Austria, prevention activities are mainly organised and implemented at local and regional levels under the guidance of the provincial Addiction Prevention Units.

The main objectives and features of Austria’s prevention policy are to expand prevention measures to broader areas of social life, especially those that are relevant to young people. As in many countries, prevention focuses on the prevention of addiction in a broad sense, covering both licit and illicit substances, and in recent years it has often been combined with interventions to prevent violence and promote health in general.

The implementation of curricular school-based prevention programmes is considered highly relevant, and the goals that are primarily pursued include improvements in the entire school environment, strengthening students’ resilience, psychosocial skills and life skills among pupils. For the older age groups another relevant objective is to promote critical approaches to (licit as well as illicit) psychoactive substances. The programmes ‘Eigenstandig werden’, targeting children aged 6–10, and ‘Plus’, targeting those aged 10–14, are offered in school settings in all provinces. The 2013 evaluation of the four-year ‘Plus’ programme indicates that the increase in licit substance abuse was significantly lower among those who had completed the programme compared to control groups, with a lower increase in behavioural problems and better behaviour in school, including learning outcomes in other subjects. The ‘Choice project’ and ‘ programme’ both began at the regional level and have expanded their geographical coverage in recent years. Education that uses drama and theatre to convey learning plays a role in prevention in a few regions, with the objectives of raising awareness about difficult situations and encouraging students to seek help from relevant services. In recent years there has been a focus on enhancing prevention programmes and services for vocational school students and young employees through a workplace-based prevention programme. Interventions aimed at the parents of pre-school children and adolescents primarily concentrate on information-providing events, but an increasing number of these programmes also aim to improve parenting skills and parents’ communication and interaction with their children, particularly by helping parents to deal with drug use by their offspring. Media (including new media) are increasingly being explored as a means of disseminating information among young people on well-being, health and addiction, for example by using digital story-telling.

Selective prevention is mostly targeted at young people experimenting with drugs and children whose parents use drugs or suffer from mental disorders. Activities in leisure settings aim to build a critical approach to psychoactive substances (risk competence) among participants, and exploring alternatives to substance use. In this context, youth social work in recreational settings plays an important role. The programmes targeting clubs and party scenes are carried out by non-profit organisations (NPOs) or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and focus on counselling and information provision. Projects in Vienna and its surrounding (checkit!) and Tyrol (Z6 mobile drug services) provide on-site pill testing. New approaches often focus on young people who are taking part in programmes run by public employment services.

Indicated prevention primarily focuses on early identification and targets adolescents with at-risk alcohol use. However, initiatives have been implemented that aim to identify young people admitted to hospitals and in public employment services who are showing a higher risk of developing addictive behaviour.

The main tools used to ensure the quality of prevention activities are regular training for professionals involved in prevention activities, quality standards embedded into funding applications and several quality standards relating to school-based prevention and peer education.

See the Prevention profile for Austria for more information. 

Problem drug use

Content for problem drug use: 

Up to 2012 the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) defined problem drug use as injecting drug use  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.

Estimates on the number of high-risk drug users in Austria are available for polydrug use, including opiates (thus corresponding to the definition of ‘high-risk opioid use’), and are calculated using the capture–recapture (CRC) method based on two main sources: (i) police reports related to opioids; and (ii) the substitution treatment registry. They have been validated for some years using the special registry on drug-related deaths as a third source of data (3-sample CRC). The most recent estimate for 2013 indicated a prevalence of 4.99 high-risk opioid users per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (sensitivity interval: 4.86–5.12), or a total of 28 550 users (sensitivity interval: 27 790–29 311). Historically, an increase in the estimated number of high-risk opioid users was observed in the early to mid 2000s, and since 2009 a gradual decline has become apparent. In 2013 it is estimated that there were 11 000–15 000 opioid users who predominantly injected opiates, with sniffing being the other route of administration.

Based on data from the 2008 general population survey, it is estimated that about 0.2 % of 15- to 64-year-olds used cannabis daily or almost daily within the last 30 days.

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

Treatment demand

Content for treatment demand: 

A nationwide documentation system on drug treatment centres, referred to as DOKLI (Dokumentationssystem der Klientinnen und Klienten der Drogenhilfe), was initiated in 2005 and data have been available from 2006. In 2014 treatment demand data was gathered from 121 outpatient and 21 inpatient treatment centres in Austria. The DOKLI system reports data from 91 % outpatient and 81 % inpatient centres; only a few centres are not included, mainly due to the technical incompatibility of their documentation system. The level of data coverage of the clients is unknown. There is an automatic control in case the person is already in the registry; therefore, no double counting is possible within DOKLI. Another register, eSuchtmittel, records data on all patients receiving opioid substitution treatment (OST) in Austria. There is an overlap between DOKLI and eSuchtmittel, which may result in double counting of clients.

In 2014 a total of 4 061 clients entered treatment recorded in the DOKLI system, of which 1 714 were new clients entering treatment for the first time. Most clients attended outpatient treatment centres. Opioids, mainly heroin, were reported as the primary drug by 1 737 (43 %) of all treatment clients with a known primary substance. Cannabis was reported as a primary substance of abuse for 1 101 (25 %) of all treatment clients and cocaine was reported by 288 clients (7 %). Among new treatment clients, the majority (757 clients or 44 %) reported cannabis as their primary problem drug, followed by opioids at 435 clients (25 %) and cocaine at 145 clients (8 %). Some 28 % of all treatment clients and 18 % of new treatment clients whose primary drug was opioid reported injecting it.

In terms of age distribution, the mean age for all treatment clients was 29 years in 2014. New treatment clients tended to be younger, with a mean age of 26. The gender distribution of all treatment clients was 78.5 % male and 21.5 % female, while among new clients 80.5 % were male and 19.5 % were female.

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

Drug-related infectious diseases

Content for drug-related infectious diseases: 

The prevalence of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Austria is estimated on the basis of samples from treatment facilities and low-threshold centres. For human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) information is also gathered from drug-related death autopsy reports, and from the Austrian HIV cohort study. In 2014 a total of 21 new cases of HIV infection among PWID were reported. The national prevalence rates of HIV among PWID ranged from 0.0–10.5 in 2014.

The available data on the sub-national prevalence rates of hepatitis B virus (HBV based on positive aHBc) indicate prevalence rates of ranging from 0.0–44.1 % in 2014. An increase in hepatitis C infection among PWID has become apparent since 2009, reaching a very high level in 2014. Thus, HCV prevalence ranged from 33.9–74.1 % in 2014 (depending on the data source).

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

Drug-induced deaths and mortality

Content for drug-induced deaths: 

The special registry at the national focal point collects and reports data on drug-induced deaths. Data extraction and reporting is in line with the EMCDDA definitions and recommendations.

In 2014 a total of 122 drug-induced deaths were reported. After a noticeable increase between 2003 and 2006, the number of drug-induced deaths seems to show a slow decline. For 2014 some 102 deaths had known toxicological examinations. In 95 of these cases the presence of opioids was registered; however, similarly to previous years, more than 80 % of cases were attributed to polydrug use. In 2014 the first death as a result of the use of new psychoactive substance was registered in Austria. In 2014, with regard to gender, 97 of the registered deaths were male. The average age at death was 36.1 years.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15–64) was 21.2 deaths per million, which is higher than the most recent European average of 19.2 deaths per million.

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

Treatment responses

Content for treatment responses: 

All nine Austrian provinces have drawn up drug strategies and nominated drug coordinators that are responsible for coordinating drug treatment at the regional level. A drug coordinator has been appointed to accredit and monitor treatment at the national level under the Federal Ministry of Health. The Provincial Conference of Drug Coordinators performs inter-regional coordination of drug treatment policies. The provincial governments, the social insurance funds and the federal government primarily finance drug treatment.

Addiction treatment services are provided both by specialised centres and as part of general healthcare services (e.g. psychiatric hospitals, psychosocial services and office-based medical doctors). General healthcare services are largely involved in OST provision. Drug treatment services in Austria are very diverse. They provide a range of options and can be flexibly applied to respond to a client’s treatment and social needs. The treatment programmes are offered in modular form, providing both short-term and long-term options. Treatment is mostly provided on an outpatient basis, and the majority of the outpatient facilities are counselling centres. While counselling centres treat users of licit and illicit drugs, there are several specialised treatment and reintegration facilities available almost exclusively for illicit drug users. Outpatient psychosocial interventions cover a range of services, such as counselling, outreach work, psychotherapy, aftercare and reintegration programmes. Inpatient psychosocial interventions are provided in both specific and generic facilities, offering long-term and short-term treatment, often combined with inpatient detoxification. Detoxification treatment is primarily carried out in inpatient facilities, but it is increasingly available in outpatient settings. Many providers of inpatient or residential treatment are organised as non-profit limited companies or associations, and provide mainly residential treatment programmes including pre- and aftercare. New target groups for treatment service providers are immigrants, pregnant women, young people, older drug users and persons with psychiatric comorbidity; special treatment programmes are also available for cocaine or cannabis users.

OST is widely available and has become the most important form of treatment in Austria, and is often provided by general practitioners. A psychiatrist or physician can prescribe substitution medication, as stipulated in the Oral Substitution Treatment of Opiate Addicts guidance, and a medical officer must sign a long-term prescription. In 2009 the Narcotic Drugs Decree was amended to regulate changes to the conditions for take-home substitution medication, and to establish a requirement to obtain a second opinion for diagnosis and treatment options for patients under the age of 20. Furthermore, the Oral Substitution Further Training Decree adopted in 2005 and amended in 2009 stipulates that general practitioners and public health officers need to attend training in order to be qualified and authorised to supervise prescription and to deliver substitution treatment. The qualification licence is valid for three years. In addition to office-based medical doctors and specialised outpatient centres, substitution treatment is also provided by public health authorities, hospitals and prisons. In recent years, actions have been taken at the provincial level to improve the quality of OST services and integrate them with complimentary psychosocial support services.

In 2014 a total of 17 272 clients were receiving OST. Around 9 591 clients received slow-release morphine, 3 599 received methadone and 33 784 received buprenorphine-based medications (the remaining clients include those receiving levo-methadone). Taking account of coverage and the overlap between DOKLI and eSuchtmittel, it is estimated that around 23 000 clients had received drug-related treatment in Austria in 2014.

See the Treatment profile for Austria for additional information. 

Harm reduction responses

Content for harm reduction responses: 

The reduction of drug-related harm is a focus of all areas of drug-related service provision in Austria. Most measures are oriented towards low-threshold assistance and to reducing the risk of problematic consequences of drug use. Specific methodological approaches such as peer support are now being employed in the framework of harm reduction. Outreach work is of central importance in this context. Outreach ranges from street work to hospital connection services. Within low-threshold facilities the prevention of infectious diseases is a major component of harm reduction service provision. Relevant activities in this field include: the provision of information on safer use/safer sex condom distribution; syringe exchange and vaccination programmes; free testing for HIV and viral hepatitis; access to low-threshold HCV treatment services; and counselling. In terms of the general health of drug users, women’s services also focus on gynaecological healthcare and pregnancy. Syringe exchange programmes have been successfully established in most of the provinces in Austria (seven out of nine), as illustrated by the continuous increase in the number of syringes sold or exchanged, especially in the most recent years. Between 2003 and 2014 the number of syringes distributed through the programmes more than tripled from 1.7 million to 5.2 million (excluding syringes sold in pharmacies). This increase can also be attributed to continuous expansion of the low-threshold network, with new facilities being opened over the years. In 2014 needle and syringe exchange was available via 15 fixed sites at low-threshold services and outpatient drug services, 20 syringe vending machines located in five provinces and five sites serviced by outreach workers. An average of approximately 360 sterile syringes per year have been issued per injecting drug user in the context of syringe exchange. Other injecting equipment (e.g. microfilters) is frequently distributed along with sterile syringes; however, this distribution is not systematically recorded. Safer use and risk reduction in recreational settings are also considered important features of reducing drug-related harm. For example, the organisations Check-it! in Vienna and ‘MDA basecamp’ in Tyrol provide information and drug-checking services to users in these settings.

See the Harm reduction overview for Austria for additional information. 

Drug markets and drug-law offences

Content for Drug markets and drug-law offences: 

According to the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior, in 2014 some 30 250 drug-law offences were registered, which is the highest number ever reported. The majority of drug use and possession offences were linked to cannabis. A total of 28 067 of offences were related to misdemeanours related to handling drugs and 2 173 were trafficking-related.

Austria is not considered to be a drug-producing country. Most of the drugs seized are either destined for other European Union (EU) countries or are smuggled in for domestic use. Heroin mainly enters Austria via the Balkan route by road, and this route is also used for cocaine transported to Africa or Europe by sea. In addition, Vienna International Airport serves as a pivot of drug smuggling, mainly cocaine from Southern and Central America. Recently, an increase in new psychoactive substances has been noted. Virtual drug markets have generally increased in importance, particularly regarding precursors. Some isolated cases of cannabis cultivation and production of synthetic drugs have been recorded, but they constitute a minor portion of the drug market.

Cannabis is the main drug seized in Austria. It is smuggled into the country from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, South-East Europe, Albania and Morocco. Morocco is also an important source of cannabis resin. Synthetic drugs seized in Austria are mostly produced in the Netherlands, while amphetamines also originate from Poland, and methamphetamine comes from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The new psychoactive substances and precursors are mainly ordered on the internet and mailed from Europe and Asia. In 2014 eight fairly small clandestine laboratories producing amphetamines were seized.

In 2014 the number of seizures for herbal cannabis, cannabis plants, heroin, cocaine, amphetamine and ecstasy increased when compared to 2013, while the amount of all seized substances except cannabis plants and cocaine was lower than in previous years. The general trend over a 10-year period indicates relatively stable numbers of seizures of all drugs, except cannabis products. In 2014 herbal cannabis seizures resulted in 1 325.99 kg of substance seized, which is slightly below the record amount reported in 2013 (1 431.55 kg). The amount of cannabis resin seized also continued to fall, and a total of 100.91 kg of substance was seized (129.66 kg in 2013; 173.75 kg in 2012), while the quantity of cannabis plants seized was higher than in 2011–13 (281.31 kg in 2014; 195.79 kg in 2013; 172.94 kg in 2012; 219.4 kg in 2011), but below the level seized in 2010 (307.5 kg). The amount of heroin seized continued to decline, with 56.16 kg of substance seized in 2014, which is almost four times less than in 2012. However, it should be noted that the quantity of heroin seized in 2012 was exceptionally high compared to previous years. The reported amount of seized cocaine was 30.98 kg, and although it was more than was seized in 2013, it is less than was reported annually between 2003 and 2012. The quantity of amphetamine seized in 2014 also continued to fall, and 15.86 kg was reported, which is lower than in 2012–13. In 2014 the quantity of methamphetamine seized almost halved when compared to 2013 (4.73 kg in 2014, 7.57 kg in 2013). The number of ecstasy seizures slightly increased in 2014 compared to 2013, and the total amount of ecstasy seized continued to decline to levels reported in 2009, following an increase in 2011. Further analysis indicates an increase in the maximum prices of amphetamine, methamphetamine and ecstasy, and average degrees of purity of cannabis resin, brown heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

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

National drug laws

Content for National drug laws: 

The Narcotic Substances Act came into force in 1998, and continued the Austrian drug policy approach of making a clear distinction between criminals trafficking in drugs and people with drug-related health problems. The law distinguishes between these two categories using several criteria, with the quantity of drugs involved (above or below the threshold defined by the Ministry of Health) as the most relevant factor. Penalties may vary according to whether the drug is classed as a narcotic or psychotropic. Special provisions exist for cannabis and hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The use of drugs is not mentioned as an offence. The sentence for the possession of drugs for personal use is up to six months in prison or a fine, if the quantity of drugs is not over the defined threshold. A range of alternatives to punishment is in place, including mandatory suspension of proceedings in certain defined cases of possession and for the acquisition of small amounts of drugs for personal use. Therapy instead of imprisonment may also be offered to drug addicts who have committed a more serious crime and are willing to undergo treatment. However, if aggravating circumstances apply, such as the involvement of minors or commercial intent, the penalty is up to three years’ imprisonment.

The maximum penalties for trafficking large quantities (more than 15 times the threshold quantity) were increased in 2008, to two or three years for possession depending on the type of drug, five years for import or production, and 1–10 years to 10–20 years or life imprisonment for some crimes, depending on particular circumstances (i.e. commercial purposes, membership of a gang, previous convictions and amount of drugs involved).

To inhibit the trade in new psychoactive substances, the New Psychoactive Substances Act and New Psychoactive Substances Regulation came into force in 2012. The distribution or sale of substances listed in Annex I of the Regulation, which may be defined in groups using the generic approach, is considered a violation and may result in imprisonment of up to two years for basic offences, while the punishment may be 1–10 years when distribution of the substance has led to serious bodily harm or death. Possession of new psychoactive substances for personal use is not punishable.

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

National drug strategy

Content for National drug strategy: 

Austria currently has no national (federal) drug strategy or action plan document. However, a national prevention and addiction strategy, as planned in the Government Policy Statement 2013–18, is being developed. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Health, a Delphi study was undertaken based on an expanded definition of prevention, taking into account both drug use and forms of addiction not related to substances. Following the study’s completion, the Ministry of Health has established a working group to take the strategy’s development forward.

The goals and principles of the Austrian drug policy are reflected in its legislative texts. The main objective of policy is a society as free from addiction as possible, with a central principle being to define drug dependence as a disease and consequently draw a distinction between drug dependence and trafficking. These elements can also be found in the drug and addiction strategies or concepts of the nine Austrian provinces, which were developed between 1980 (Vorarlberg) and 2002 (Upper Austria). While Carinthia’s addiction plan was extended to 2016, several other provinces have developed new strategies. In December 2010 Lower Austria adopted its addiction plan for 2011–15 based on the four pillars of: prevention; advice and treatment; social integration; quality assurance and documentation.In 2011 Styria launched its new addiction policy, which addresses demand and supply reduction issues and places a focus on, inter alia, harm reduction and addressing prescription medication abuse and other non-substance related forms of addiction alongside illicit drug problems. The new 2012 drug strategy for Tyrol also addresses illicit drug problems, licit drugs and other forms of addiction. While Salzburg originally adopted its drug action plan in 1999, in 2011 it finalised the evaluation of the measures in place in order to advance the drug support and treatment system. Vienna launched its new addiction and drug strategy in 2013, with an emphasis on social integration, low-threshold service provision, and new substances and forms of addiction.


Related downloads

Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

Content for Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs: 

At the federal level there are two interlinked structures for coordinating drug policy. The first of these, the Federal Drug Coordination Office, is attached to the Ministry of Health and is responsible for drug policy coordination. It manages the operational coordination of federal drug policies, prepares drug-related ministerial decisions and participates in European and international drug policy forums on Austria’s behalf. Comprised of three permanent representatives from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice, participants from other ministries are involved on an ad hoc basis.

The second coordination structure at the federal level is the Federal Drug Forum, which supports the Federal Drug Coordination Office and functions as a coordination and advisory body in cooperation matters with Austria’s nine provinces. It consists of members from federal ministries, drug representatives and/or addiction coordinators from all nine provinces, the Local Government Federation, the Australian Public Health Institute (including the national focal point), and other scientists and experts in the drug field.

At the provincial level there are three main mechanisms for coordinating drug policy. The Provincial Conference of Drug Coordinators facilitates inter-regional drug policy coordination among the provinces. It is tasked with establishing joint positions and statements. Provincial representatives manage the coordination of actions in the drug field. Each province appoints a representative, referred to as addiction coordinators, addiction representatives, drug coordinators or drug representatives. Drug or Addiction Coordination Offices and Addiction Prevention Units have also been set up in all of Austria’s provinces.

Public expenditure

Content for Public expenditure: 

The available information does not allow the size and trends of drug-related public expenditures in Austria to be reported.

However, in 2013 a study on the cost of addiction estimated that the use of illicit drugs results in an annual cost totalling EUR 278 million. This cost comprises healthcare expenditure (estimated at EUR 135 million), social expenditure (estimated at EUR 51 million) and state expenditure (for police and court activities; estimated at EUR 96 million).

Drug-related research

Content for Drug-related research: 

In Austria there is a broad range of approaches to drug-related research, at both the national and the provincial level. Studies focus on licit and illicit drugs and cover different perspectives (medical, social, ethical, legal). They include responses to the drug situation and consequences of drug use, but prevalence incidence, patterns of drug use and mechanisms of drug use are also covered. Studies often cover quantitative and qualitative aspects, but the majority can be classified as qualitative. A 2015 literature search focusing on Austrian scientists and journals confirmed this broad range of approaches, from neuroscience to social science, from prevention aspects to treatment, and from licit to illicit drugs.

Drug-specific research is funded at the national level by ministries and foundations promoting research, indirectly from the budgets of universities, and also from the budgets of the provinces and within the framework of EU programmes. The results of research are disseminated in scientific journals, research reports and via dedicated websites.

See Drug-related research for more detailed information. 

Data sheet — key statistics on the drug situation

Content for Data sheet: 

        EU range      
  Year   Country data Min. Max.      
Problem opioid use (rate/1 000) 2013   4.99 0.2 10.7      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   50.8% 4% 90%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   29.2% 2% 89%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) 2014   11.9% 7% 52%      
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) :   : EUR 23 EUR 140      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) :   : 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2008   1.2% 0% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2008   0.9% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   8.4% 0% 38%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   9.7% 0% 40%      
Purity (%) 2014   31.6% 20% 64%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2008   EUR 70 EUR 47 EUR 107      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) :   : 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2008   0.9% 0% 3%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2008   0.5% 0% 1%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   4.6% 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   5.9% 0% 75%      
Purity (%) 2014   10.6% 1% 49%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2008   EUR 20 EUR 3 EUR 63      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) :   : 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2008   1.0% 0% 6%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2008   0.5% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.8% 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   1.3% 0% 2%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) 2014   45 mg 27 mg 131 mg      
Price per tablet (EUR) 2008   EUR 10 EUR 4 EUR 16      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) :   : 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2008   6.6% 0% 24%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2008   3.5% 0% 11%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   32.2% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   50.9% 7% 77%      
Potency — herbal (%) 2014   8.9% 3% 15%      
Potency — resin (%) 2014   12.0% 3% 29%      
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) :   : EUR 3 EUR 23      
Price per gram — resin (EUR) 2008   EUR 9 EUR 3 EUR 22      
Prevalence of problem drug use                
Problem drug use (rate/1 000) :   : 2.7 10.0      
Injecting drug use (rate/1 000) :   : 0.2 9.2      
Drug-related infectious diseases/deaths                
HIV infections newly diagnosed (cases / million) 2014   2.5 0.0 50.9      
HIV prevalence (%) 2014   10.5% 0% 31%      
HCV prevalence (%) 2014   51.3% 15% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) 2014   21.1 2.4 113.2      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed 2014   5 157 666 382 7 199 660      
Clients in substitution treatment 2014   17 272 178 161 388      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2014   4 061 271 100 456      
New clients 2014   1 714 28 35 007      
All clients with known primary drug 2014   3 422 271 97 068      
New clients with known primary drug 2014   1 488 28 34 088      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences 2014   30 250 537 282 177      
Offences for use/possession 2014   28 067 13 398 422      

Key national figures and statistics

Content for Key national figures and statistics: 

p Eurostat provisional value.

b Break in series.

e Estimated.

: Not available.

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, 2014.

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).

Key figures
  Year  Austria EU (27 countries) Source
Population  2014 8 506 889 506 944 075 bep Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2014 11.9 %  11.3 % bep Eurostat
25–49 35.5 % 34.7 % bep
50–64 20.0 %  19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2014 130 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2013 29.8 % : Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2015 5.7 % 9.4 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2015 10.6 % 20.3 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2014 104.1  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2014.1
At risk of poverty rate 5  2014 14.1 %  17.2 %  SILC

Contact information for our focal point

Address and contact: 

Austrian Public Health Institute (Gesundheit Österreich GmbH, GÖG)

Stubenring 6
A-1010 Wien
Tel. +43 15156160
Fax +43 15138472

Head of national focal point: Ms Marion Weigl

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