Italy country overview

Italy country overview

Map of Italy

About NFP: 

The Drug Policy Department was set up at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers by means of the first decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 20 June 2008, and placed under the functional responsibility of the Prime Ministerial Under-Secretary with delegated responsibility for drugs. The Department’s role is to promote, guide and coordinate the Government’s initiatives to combat the spread of drug and alcohol dependency and to promote cooperation with the competent public administrations in the sector, associations, therapeutic communities and other non-governmental organisations. The Italian national focal point is located in the Department, and is responsible for collecting, processing and interpreting data and information of a statistical-epidemiological, pharmacological-clinical, and psychosocial nature and for documentation on the use, abuse, dealing and trafficking of drugs and psychotropic substances. The Department is also responsible for collaboration with the European Union and international bodies operating in the sector. The national focal point is an integral part of the Department’s technical and scientific division.

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Last updated: Friday, May 27, 2016

Drug use among the general population and young people

Content for prevalence: 

The last general population survey on drug use was carried out in Italy in 2014 (earlier surveys were carried out in 2011 and 2008). The survey was based on a postal questionnaire sent to a stratified random sample of around 23 300 residents aged 15–74 (response rate: 34.8 %). A total of 6 590 respondents were aged 15–64. Illicit drug use was classed as the use of cannabis, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy. About 31.9 % of 15- to 64-year-old respondents reported having used cannabis at least once in their lives. The lifetime prevalence rate of cocaine use was 7.6 %, while for ecstasy it was 3.1 %. Last year prevalence of cannabis use was 9.2 %, and last month prevalence was 4.4 %. Last year prevalence of cocaine use was 1.1 % and last month prevalence was 0.3 %. Prevalence of illicit drug use was higher among younger adults. Thus, 39.5 % of 15- to 34-year-olds reported ever having used cannabis, 19 % had used it in the last year and 8.9% reported last month use. Cocaine was also the second most prevalent substance used by young people. The study indicates a possible increase in the prevalence of cannabis and stimulants use in Italy, when compared to earlier surveys.

The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) among students aged 15–16 has been conducted regularly in Italy since 1995. The latest study was in 2011, and it indicated an overall decrease in the use of all illicit drugs over time. The lifetime prevalence rate of cannabis fell from 27 % in 2003 to 21 % in 2011. In 2011 lifetime prevalence of inhalants was 3 %, the same as for hallucinogens and cocaine. Lifetime prevalence of amphetamines, ecstasy and heroin was reported by 2 % of the sample. Last year prevalence of cannabis use was 18 %, while last month prevalence was 12 %. In 2010–14 repeated student population studies were conducted among 15- to 19-year-olds using the ESPAD questionnaire. These studies confirmed that cannabis remains the most popular illicit substance among young people, and indicated a possible increase in cannabis use among students since 2011. More details on these studies are available in the 2014 National report. The Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study was conducted in Italy in 2002, 2009 and 2013/14. The latest data indicate that about 27 % of 15-year-old boys and 17 % of girls of same age, who attend general schools, had used cannabis at least once.

In 2011–13 a total of 17 Italian cities participated in projects that attempted to assess drug use levels in the population, applying innovative methodology. Analyses of wastewater samples were performed to determine the extent of use of drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine-type stimulants and ketamine. Cannabis was the main drug detected in the wastewater samples in all study periods, followed by cocaine. Heroin and synthetic stimulants were detected in much smaller quantities.

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


Content for prevention: 

The planning and implementation of prevention activities in Italy are mainly the responsibility of the regional and autonomous provinces; however, the Department for Anti-Drug Policies at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers provides part of its annual budget to support universal and selective prevention activities.

Universal prevention activities, focusing on both licit and illicit substances, are routinely implemented in schools, but are mainly limited to information provision and awareness-raising through lectures and discussions, while more interactive methods such as role-playing or peer-to-peer activities remain limited. Some prevention activities involve the use of information technology platforms, such as video conferencing, and thus are considered more appealing to students. The Unplugged programme continues to be implemented in several provinces. School-based prevention activities are implemented by teachers; however, schools also frequently involve representatives from local health authorities or law enforcement agencies in the delivery of prevention activities.

Family involvement is considered central to all prevention efforts in Italy, and almost all regions have universal prevention projects targeting families, guardians, teachers and peers, and individual work with parents. Universal prevention specifically targeted at families is largely distinguished by three types of initiative: mutual assistance between families, meetings with families and training for families. Universal prevention activities targeted at the community focus on young people through the use of peer groups in out-of-school settings, counselling and clubs for young people, recreational and cultural activities and local prevention projects delivered via the media and the internet.

Selective prevention activities are mainly aimed at young people in recreational setting, immigrants, school drop-outs and young offenders, families with problem drug use and/or with mental health problems, and socially and academically marginalised young people.

Mass media campaigns continue to be an essential part of the prevention strategy, and mainly focus on general information and awareness raising about both licit and illicit drugs.

In addition, a significant number of Italian prevention centres are supporting and implementing the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards, Phase II.

See the Prevention profile for Italy 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.

The latest estimate based on treatment multipliers suggests that there were 203 000 high-risk opioid users in Italy in 2014 (95 % confidence interval (CI): 179 000–227 000), corresponding to a rate of 5.16 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (95 % CI: 4.55–5.77). A decline in the estimated number of high-risk opioid users that was noted from 2008 onwards stopped in 2014, when a noticeable increase was seen. The latest estimate, referring to 2014, suggested there were 250 000 high-risk cocaine users in Italy (95 % CI: 200 000–300 000), a rate of 6.36 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (95 % CI: 5.09–7.63).

Based on the 2014 general population survey, it is estimated that 0.9 % of 15- to 64-year-olds used cannabis daily or almost daily. In addition, an estimate of high-risk cannabis use/users in need of treatment due to cannabis is available on the basis of police data and ranges from a minimum of 148 000 to a maximum of 224 000 users.

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

Treatment demand

Content for treatment demand: 

In 2010 the National Information System on Addiction (SIND) was introduced, which allows individualised treatment demand data on people undergoing treatment in local treatment services and in prisons to be collected and analysed, and by 2012 the SIND covered about 90 % of active services. In 2014 the SNID increased its coverage and quality of data collection, allowing data analysis without the application of estimation methods.

Treatment demand data for 2014 was based on reports from a sample of 97 % of the outpatient addiction treatment units, which represents the large majority of the outpatient centres in Italy; these are the entry point for clients to enter the treatment system.

A total of 51 955 clients entered treatment in 2014, of which 18 770 were new clients entering treatment for the first time. Data indicated that 56 % of all treatment clients reported opioids as their primary drug, followed by 24 % for cocaine and 18 % for cannabis. Among new treatment clients the percentage of opioid clients is lower (41 %), and the proportion of clients reporting cannabis (29 %) and cocaine (27 %) as their primary drug is higher.

An ageing trend has been reported over recent years among clients entering drug treatment in Italy. In 2014 the average age of all treatment clients was 37. New treatment clients were on average 35, which was also the highest value reported in Europe. A longer latency time before entering treatment is reported for those entering treatment because of cocaine use. With regard to gender distribution, 86 % of all and new treatment clients were male.

Note that data quality issues should be considered when interpreting Italian data.

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

Drug-related infectious diseases

Content for drug-related infectious diseases: 

In Italy, people attending drug treatment at a public drug treatment service or general hospital are offered a voluntary test for drug-related infectious diseases. Since 2010 these data are reported through the National Information System on Addiction (SIND) on people undergoing treatment in local treatment services. In 2014 data were collected from all Italian regions, but they are often underestimated.

In 2014 the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence rate reported in Italy among a sample of 166 people who injected drugs and were in treatment was 30.1 %, while hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence among 10 138 tested people who inject drugs was 54 %, and hepatitis B virus (HBV) prevalence among 11 032 people who ever injected drugs was 12.1 %.

The data collection system in place between 2006–10 indicated a continued reduction in the proportion of all clients (injecting and non-injecting drug users) testing HIV positive in Italy as a whole. In 2010 some 11.5 % of the clients tested were HIV positive (11.5 % in 2009; 11.7 % in 2008; 11.9 % in 2007; 12.0 % in 2006).

It is notable that the reported HIV and HCV prevalence was higher among women who inject drugs than men.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the National AIDS Unit of Italy reported 141 new HIV infections linked to injecting drug use in 2014, which indicates a declining trend since 2010, when 265 new HIV cases linked to injecting drug use were reported. Data collected and reported by the National AIDS Unit use different sources and information flow than those used by SIND.

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

Drug-induced deaths and mortality

Content for drug-induced deaths: 

National data on direct drug-induced deaths in Italy are collected by the Special Registry maintained by the Central Directorate for Antidrug Services (DCSA) of the Ministry of Interior. Data extraction and reporting is in line with EMCDDA definitions and recommendations.

Trends in drug-induced deaths show a maximum peak in 1999, followed by a progressive reduction and stabilisation during 2004–07, with a continuous decline in the following years. The total number of direct drug-induced deaths recorded in the Special Registry in 2014 was 313, which is the lowest number reported since 1999. With regard to gender, 294 death cases were male. The victims were on average 39.7 years old at the time of death. A total of 181 drug-induced deaths had toxicology testing results available, which indicated opioids as the most prevalent substance causing death in 157 cases.

The General Mortality Registry, maintained by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), collects data on direct drug-related deaths coded using ICD-9. The data from the General Mortality Register is currently only available up to 2002.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15–64) is 8.0 deaths per million, lower 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: 

In Italy, the coordination of drug-related treatment is carried out at the regional level by heads of the local drug departments or drug services. The regional government establishes the treatment delivery services, manages the accreditation of private community treatment centres and records the number of treatment centres. To ensure the quality of treatment, the regions are given responsibility for the adoption of treatment guidelines; however, in a significant proportion of the regions such tools have not yet been adopted. Both the public and private sectors provide treatment, and both are funded through the Regional Health Fund. Funds are allocated to the regions by the government on a yearly basis.

The Italian drug treatment system includes two complementary sub-systems: in 2014 there were 620 public drug addiction service units (SerDs) and 808 social-rehabilitative facilities (mainly residential or semi-residential). SerDs mainly carry out outpatient treatment, and are part of the national health system. Within the SerD, integrated treatment is provided and reintegration programmes are also implemented. The majority of social-rehabilitative facilities are private organisations. They carry out inpatient treatment, but also semi-residential and outpatient treatment. Referral to social-rehabilitative facilities is made by the SerDs, which in most cases authorise the local national health service unit to pay the fees for treatment. Most services are located in the northern regions of Italy, which have the highest number of problem drug users and the greatest urban densities. Interventions carried out in both the public and the private services include psychosocial support, psychotherapy and social service interventions, and also detoxification in residential settings and vocational training in semi-residential settings. Detoxification is also carried out in general hospitals. However, the number of high-risk drug users in residential settings is believed to be low. Treatment programmes usually do not distinguish between different types of substances used by their clients. Programmes are in place in most of Italy that focus on cocaine users, children and adolescents who use psychoactive substances, and those with dual diagnosis, while programmes for ethnic minorities are available in one-third of all regions.

The Presidential Decree 309/90, Article 43 stipulates that opioid substitution treatment (OST) can be initiated by general practitioners, specialised medical practitioners and treatment centres, and should be implemented in combination with psychosocial and/or rehabilitative measures. However, the provision of OST outside specialised treatment centres (SerDs) is rare. The most widely used substitution substance in Italy is methadone (introduced in 1975), although the use of buprenorphine has been increasing since its introduction in 1999. In 2014, according to SIND, there were 75 964 clients in OST, of whom 68 385 received methadone and 7 579 on buprenorphine.

See the Treatment profile for Italy for additional information. 

Harm reduction responses

Content for harm reduction responses: 

Italy had its first experiences of preventing drug-related diseases in the early 1990s.

These largely involved the need to deal with the emergency that was the spread of HIV among drug addicts. These initial experiences were extremely important, from both epidemiological and epistemological standpoints. While they proved effective at combating the spread of HIV, they also made a marked contribution to consolidating a pragmatic approach to drug addiction. This was the beginning of the shift towards ‘contacting and taking into care’ those who were not receiving treatment from addiction services because at this point in their lives they were not able or did not wish to stop using drugs. After over twenty years of working to prevent the spread of drug-related diseases and to reduce the risk and the harm caused by drugs in Italy, the range of services and initiatives continues to be heterogeneous and diversified.

Some outreach programmes and projects exist at the local level, operated by both public and private social and health organisations, together with specific projects funded through the National Drugs Fund. Both the outreach programmes and projects financed through the national fund include needle and exchange programmes, information dissemination and counselling.

Programmes targeted at harm reduction are more extensive in the northern and central Italian regions, and tend to be focused on the larger cities. Harm reduction interventions are delivered through fixed sites (drop-in centres and reception units), mobile units, outreach programmes and needle and syringe dispensing machines.

See the Harm reduction overview for Italy for additional information. 

Drug markets and drug-law offences

Content for Drug markets and drug-law offences: 

The Italian drug market is largely supplied by cocaine produced in Colombia, heroin from Afghanistan, herbal cannabis from Albania, cannabis resin mainly from Morocco, and synthetic drugs from the Netherlands and Spain. The market is dominated by large organised crime structures with well-established international links and operating bases in principal drug production and trafficking regions, such as South America, south-east Asia, northern and also South-Eastern Europe. A large proportion of illicit drugs pass through Italy en route to other European Union countries. The maritime route of illicit drug trafficking is of primary importance for all substances, while illicit drugs are also smuggled into Italy by land from neighbouring countries and by air. With regard to production, cannabis cultivation is reported predominantly in southern Italy.

In the overall structure of illicit drug seizures, cannabis products dominate, followed by cocaine and heroin, but other substances (mainly synthetic stimulants) are seized less frequently. Police operations in 2014 (1) led to the seizure of new record amounts of herbal cannabis and cannabis resin (33 440.86 kg and 113 151.90 kg respectively). For cannabis plants, after a record amount of more than 4.1 million plants seized in 2012, in 2013–14 a reduction in the number of seized plants was reported (895 000 and 121 659 plants respectively). In 2014, following the seizure of a record amount of 6 344 kg of cocaine in 2011, there was a further decline in the number and volume of cocaine seizures (3 865.797 kg). The reported amount of heroin seized fluctuated between 813 kg and 931.129 kg in the period 2011–14, indicating a decline when compared with the period before 2010. Following 2013, when a record amount of 29.197 kg of methamphetamine was seized, the reported quantity decreased to 2.67 kg in 2014. In addition, 3.3 kg of amphetamine and 28.83 kg of ecstasy powder were seized in Italy in 2014.

The Central Directorate for Anti-Drug Services reported 29 474 offenders involved in offences related to the supply (wholesale trading according to ICCS 060121 classification) of drugs and 33 371 persons involved in offences related to use/purchase/possession of drugs for personal use (ICCS 060111). More than half of all offenders were involved in cannabis-related offences, followed by cocaine- and heroin-related offences.

(1) All 2014 data are in line with submissions to the EMCDDA as of the end of 2015.

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

National drug laws

Content for National drug laws: 

In Italy, the Consolidated Law, adopted by the Presidential Decree No. 309 on 9 October 1990 and subsequently amended, provides the legal framework for trade, treatment and prevention, and prohibition and punishment of illegal activities in the field of drugs and psychoactive substances. Use itself is not mentioned as an offence. Possession for personal use is punishable by administrative sanctions (such as the suspension of a driving licence). Since Law 79 of 16 May 2014, a distinction is now made between less dangerous drugs in Schedules II and IV, and more dangerous drugs in Schedules I and III. Administrative sanctions for personal possession offences may be 1–3 months for the former, and 2–12 months for the latter. If a person is found in possession of illicit drugs for the first time, administrative sanctions are not usually applied, and instead the offender receives a warning from the Prefect and a formal request to refrain from use. The offender may also voluntarily request treatment or rehabilitation, and proceedings will then be suspended whilst the user is referred for treatment. Failure to attend or complete a treatment programme may result in the application of the above sanctions.

The threshold between personal possession and trafficking is determined by the circumstances of the specific case (the act, possession of tools for packaging, different types of drug possessed, number of doses in excess of an average daily use, means of organization, etc.).

The penalty for supply-related offences such as production, sale, transport, distribution or acquisition depends on the type of drug, again referring to the Schedules. For more dangerous drugs (cocaine, heroin, etc.), dealing is punished by 6–20 years’ imprisonment, while for less dangerous drugs (cannabis, etc.) penalties are from 2–6 years’ imprisonment.

When the offences are considered minor due to the means, modalities or circumstances, the terms of imprisonment are 6 months–4 years’ imprisonment (for all drug types). Evaluating whether the offence is minor should take in account the mode of action, criminal motives, character of the offender, conduct during or subsequent to the offence, and the family and social conditions of the offender.

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

National drug strategy

Content for National drug strategy: 

The Department for Anti-Drug Policies is developing several preparatory meetings for the drafting of the new National Drug Strategy, with central and local administrations and private and public social care associations.

In the meantime the Italian National Action Plan on Drugs 2010–13 that was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 29 October 2010 remains active. Taking a comprehensive approach, 89 objectives are set out in the Action Plan in two pillars, demand and supply reduction, across five cross-cutting areas of intervention. Demand reduction activities include prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration, while supply reduction covers evaluation and monitoring, legislation, combating drugs and youth justice. Primarily focused on illicit drug use, the Action Plan also covers licit drug use and addictive behaviours as elements, predominantly in the context of prevention. A series of initiatives are envisaged within each of the five cross-cutting intervention areas (prevention; treatment and diagnosis; rehabilitation and reintegration; evaluation and monitoring; legislation, combating drugs and youth justice). These cover the themes of coordination, cooperation, raising public awareness, assessing results and costs, scientific research and data collection, and training and organisation. The main Action Plan is accompanied by three other elements designed to support overall strategy implementation:

  1. Individual regional plans can be drawn up by the regions and autonomous provinces, following the approach of the National Action Plan on Drugs and incorporating their own planning priorities.
  2. Technical and scientific guidelines are designed to provide methodological support in implementing the drugs strategy.
  3. The Project Plan sets out the different national projects being carried out under the five cross-cutting areas of intervention in the National Action Plan on Drugs. It is renewed and implemented on the basis of annually defined financial resources. The second Project Plan, for 2011–12, covered 10 areas: overall prevention; prevention of drug-related diseases; treatment and support via Public Drug Treatment Units (SerTs) and therapeutic communities; reintegration; epidemiology and assessment; warning system and technological innovations; planning and organisation; research; training; and international activities.

In 2014 Italy launched its National Action Plan for the Prevention of the Distribution of New Psychoactive Substances and Demand on the Internet. It addresses the phenomenon of new psychoactive substances through six pillars: epidemiology and early warning; diagnostic enhancement; prevention and demand reduction; supply reduction; scientific research; collaboration, coordination and training. Objectives and supporting actions are defined for each pillar.

Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

Content for Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs: 

Established in 2008, the Department for Anti-Drug Policies is responsible for the day-to-day operational coordination of Italian drug policy. It is a department of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. Its responsibilities include ensuring coordination among the different ministries, and functioning as a link between central, regional and local authorities through the mechanism of the State–Regions Committee and the State–Regions–Municipalities Unified Committee. The Department’s work also includes policy activities at the European and international levels, alongside reviewing scientific knowledge on different aspects of drug addiction. The Director of the Department is the national drug coordinator.

The Local Health Units (ASL) are responsible for the activities of SerDs (public services) and non-governmental organisations. Prevention and reintegration activities are assigned to provinces and municipalities.

Public expenditure

Content for Public expenditure: 

Drug action plans in Italy do not have associated budgets. However, the methodology for estimating the social costs of drug use has been defined for some years (1) and provides an estimate of drug-related public expenditure (2). The same method has been used to estimate total drug-related public expenditure between 2009 and 2012.

In 2012 drug-related public expenditure was estimated at approximately 0.18 % of gross domestic product (GDP), which has confirmed the declining trend observed since 2010 (0.25 % and 0.2 % of GDP in 2010 and 2011, respectively). In 2012 some 46 % of total drug-related spending was for law enforcement, and 54 % was for social care and healthcare, revealing that in that year demand reduction policies absorbed a growing proportion of total drug-related public spending, compared to the previous year.

In 2012 the social costs of drug use were estimated to represent 1 % of GDP, which was 13.6 % less than in 2011. This reduction in the social costs of drug use was due to several reasons, in particular a reduction in the money spent by drug users to purchase drugs. Public expenditure on drug-related initiatives has also declined but is a smaller component of this social costs.

(1) See Italy’s National report (2013), submitted to the EMCDDA.

(2) Some of the funds allocated by governments for expenditure on tasks related to drugs are identified as such in the budget (‘labelled’). Often, however, the bulk of drug-related expenditure is not identified (‘unlabelled’) and must be estimated by modelling approaches. The total budget is the sum of labelled and unlabelled drug-related expenditures.

Drug-related research

Content for Drug-related research: 

A great deal of drug-related research, covering a wide range of topics (including prevalence and patterns of substance use and related risk behaviours, prevention and other interventions, new psychoactive substances, law enforcement and policy evaluation), is explored in Italy by an informal but very active network. In 2014 several international conferences took place in Rome and different research groups presented their work, networked and planned joint activities.

Various research groups collaborated in drafting the Report to Parliament 2015. Public organisations, such as the National Statistical Office and the National Health Institute, as well as several ministries and partners from the private sector, carried out field research for that report. This collaboration is expected to continue and expand to the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data collected from operators and from new surveys.

The Department for Anti-Drug Policies is partner of the ERANID network.

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) 2014   5.16 0.2 10.7      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   56.0% 4% 90%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   40.6% 2% 89%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) 2014 1 27.2% 7% 52%      
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) 2014   EUR 39 EUR 23 EUR 140      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   3.0% 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   1.8% 0% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   1.1% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   23.7% 0% 38%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   27.4% 0% 40%      
Purity (%) 2014   55.0% 20% 64%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2014   EUR 71 EUR 47 EUR 107      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   2.0% 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   0.6% 0% 3%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   0.2% 0% 1%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.2% 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.3% 0% 75%      
Purity (%) 2014   24.9% 1% 49%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2014   EUR 27 EUR 3 EUR 63      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   2.0% 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   1.0% 0% 6%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   0.4% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.3% 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.3% 0% 2%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) 2013   96 mg 27 mg 131 mg      
Price per tablet (EUR) 2014   EUR 16 EUR 4 EUR 16      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   21.0% 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   19.0% 0% 24%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   9.2% 0% 11%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   18.2% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) 2014   28.8% 7% 77%      
Potency — herbal (%) 2014   10.5% 3% 15%      
Potency — resin (%) 2014   11.4% 3% 29%      
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) 2014   EUR 8 EUR 3 EUR 23      
Price per gram — resin (EUR) 2014   EUR 11 EUR 3 EUR 22      
Prevalence of problem drug use                
Problem drug use (rate/1 000) 2009   10.0 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   2.3 0.0 50.9      
HIV prevalence (%) 2014   30.1% 0% 31%      
HCV prevalence (%) 2014   54.0% 15% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) 2014   8.0 2.4 113.2      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed :   : 382 7 199 660      
Clients in substitution treatment 2014   75 964 178 161 388      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2014   51 955 271 100 456      
New clients 2014   18 770 28 35 007      
All clients with known primary drug 2014   51 224 271 97 068      
New clients with known primary drug 2014   18 262 28 34 088      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences 2014 2 62 845 537 282 177      
Offences for use/possession 2014   33 371 13 398 422      

Key national figures and statistics

Content for Key national figures and statistics: 

b Break in time series.

e Estimated.

p Eurostat provisional value.

: 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).

  Year Italy EU (28 countries) Source
Population  2014 60 782 668 506 944 075 bep Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2014 9.8 % 11.3 % bep Eurostat
25–49 35.0 % 34.7 % bep
50–64 19.9 % 19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2014 96 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2013 29.8 % p : Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2015 11.9 % 9.4 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2015 40.3 % 20.3 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2014 89.3  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2014.1
At risk of poverty rate 5  2014 19.4% 17.2 % SILC

Contact information for our focal point

Address and contact: 

Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Department for Anti-Drug Policies

Via della Ferratella in Laterano n.51
I – 00184 Roma
Tel. +39 0667796350
Fax +39 0667796843

Head of national focal point: Mrs Elisabetta Simeoni

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