Norway country overview

Norway country overview

Map of Norway

About NFP: 

Since January 2001 the Norwegian focal point has been located in the Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research (SIRUS), which on 1 January 2016 was incorporated into the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI). FHI acts as a national competence institution for governmental authorities, the health service, the judiciary, prosecuting authorities, politicians, the media and the general public on issues related to forensic science, physical and mental health, the prevention of communicable diseases and the prevention of harmful environmental influences. It is placed directly under the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

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Last updated: Monday, May 30, 2016

Drug use among the general population and young people

Content for prevalence: 

A national survey on the use of alcohol and other substances in the general population aged 15 and over has normally been conducted in Norway every five years since 1968 (Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research/SIRUS). The most recent survey, using face-to-face interviews, was conducted in 2009; the response rate was just 18 %.

As a result of the declining response rates in previous surveys, SIRUS initiated a new annual general population survey in 2012 using telephone interviews, drawing up a representative sample aged 16–79 from the population register. Subsamples aged 16–64 consisted of 1 668 respondents in 2012, 1 790 respondents in 2013 and 1 794 respondents in 2014.

Data from these studies show that cannabis is still the most commonly used illicit drug in Norway. In 2014 the lifetime prevalence of cannabis use among 16- to 64-year-olds was 21.9 %, while 4.2 % had used it in the last year and 1.6 % in the last month. Among young adults (aged 16–34), the corresponding estimates were 27.6 %, 8.6 % and 3.0 %. Further analysis of data suggests relatively stable rates in cannabis use.

Significantly more males than females reported having used cannabis for all three time intervals. In 2014 lifetime prevalence was highest among 25- to 34-year-olds (31.3 %), while 16- to 24-year-olds reported the highest last year and last month prevalence rates for cannabis use (11.2 % and 3.6 %).

All other substances examined in the 2013 and 2014 studies were reported at lower rates, with cocaine being the second most prevalent illicit substance, followed by amphetamines and ecstasy/MDMA. As was the case with cannabis, the use of other illicit substances was higher among young adults and among males. The studies also examined the use of new psychoactive substances, and found that very few people aged 16–64 had experience of using them.

The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) has been regularly repeated in Norway since 1995 among students aged 15–16. While there was an increase from 1995 to 1999 in the lifetime use of illegal drugs, the latest data indicate a decrease. The lifetime prevalence rate of any illicit drug use other than cannabis, inhalants included, was 3 % in 1995; 6 % in 1999; 3 % in 2003. Lifetime prevalence of cannabis use (6 % in 1995; 12 % in 1999) decreased to 6 % in 2007. In 2011 lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 5 %. In terms of gender differences, lifetime prevalence of cannabis use was 6 % among males and 4 % among females. In 2011 lifetime prevalence of inhalants use was 5 %. With regard to other substances, lifetime prevalence was reported to be 1 %. Similar to 2007, the 2011 results indicated last year prevalence of cannabis use of 4 % (6 % in 2003), and 2 % for last month prevalence of cannabis use (3 % in 2003).

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


Content for prevention: 

The prevention of drug and alcohol use is an important public health perspective and is emphasised in the Government’s White Paper, ‘See me! A comprehensive drugs and alcohol policy’. Moreover, the Public Health Act, adopted in 2013, promotes the inclusion and integration of health promotion and prevention in all areas of society. The Norwegian Directorate of Health is contributing to local implementation of prevention activities, while municipalities are responsible for local drug and alcohol prevention, and county councils have a statutory responsibility for public health work at the regional level. Seven regional competence centres are key partners in coordinating and improving local prevention in the municipalities. The municipalities are required to prepare alcohol and drug policy action plans but their main role is in the area of controlling access to psychoactive substances, predominantly alcohol, at the local level.

The implementation of curricular school-based prevention programmes is often a common feature of these policies. However, in recent years efforts have been made to invest more comprehensively in a learning environment and less in manualised programmes. There is increasingly close monitoring of programme content and coverage, and the components of many of the programmes in place are in line with international recommendations. Norway has also increased research about, and evaluations of, school-based prevention programmes. In 2011 this experience was translated into a guide on implementing school prevention programmes that should ensure coherent and knowledge-based delivery of prevention activities. In recent years initiatives to promote the responsible serving of alcohol and to make the nightlife environment safer have been launched by a number of municipalities, in partnership with the police and the hospitality industry. New target groups for universal prevention include students, employees and elderly people.

Selective prevention is mostly targeted at young people outside the school environment; specifically those who drop out of school early, through outreach work, integration of prevention activities into child welfare services and promoting early access to healthcare services. Specific programmes have concentrated on the needs of immigrants and asylum seekers, children with behavioural problems and young cannabis smokers. Training programmes have been developed for child welfare services staff and specialised health services staff on how to implement early interventions. Work has also been undertaken to develop tools and methods for early interventions targeting pregnant women and their partners, and parents of small children. Many municipalities and community associations carry out selective prevention in recreational settings with a focus on health promotion, through peer approaches and the provision of alternative leisure activities.

While outreach work remains the most widely applied model for reaching vulnerable young people and the implementation of indicated prevention, innovative approaches are continuously being researched. A pilot project on motivational interviewing in outreach settings confirmed its relevance, and instructors on motivational interviewing are available in all competence centres to increase the capability of municipalities to deliver motivational interviewing. Several new indicated prevention programmes for disruptive children and their families, and for children from families with addiction problems, have been implemented and evaluated.

Special characteristics of the prevention culture in Norway, within the European context, are: heavy promotion of quality-based approaches and evaluation; a focus on the continuous development of the professional competencies of prevention workers; and the implementation of small-scale, programme-based interventions through local municipalities, assisted by specialised competence centres and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In 2015 two new White Papers containing guidelines for alcohol and drug prevention were published.

See the Prevention profile for Norway 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 most recent available estimates obtained by means of the treatment multiplier method suggested that there were around 9 015 high-risk opioid users not in opioid substitution treatment (95 % confidence interval (CI): 6 708–13 977) in 2013, corresponding to a rate of 2.68 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (95 % CI: 1.99–4.15).

The estimates of populations with injecting drug use are based on the mortality multiplier method. It was estimated that in 2013 there were 8 145 people who injected drugs (95 % CI: 6 984–9 842), a rate of 2.42 per 1 000 inhabitants aged 15–64 (95 % CI: 2.06–2.92). The number of injecting drug users in Norway increased until 2001, after which it declined until 2003 and thereafter appeared to remain stable until 2008, with some indication of a decline in the following years.

Based on the 2014 national population survey data it was estimated that 0.3 % of 16- to 64-year-olds in Norway used cannabis daily or almost daily.

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

Treatment demand

Content for treatment demand: 

The Norwegian Patient Register (NPR) is authorised by the regulation of 2009 to collect personally identifiable information about patients in the interdisciplinary specialist service, allowing data on treatment demand in Norway to be retrieved and aggregated. So far, only treatment that began during a calendar year is reported. It is not specified whether this was the first time a client had received treatment, or whether they had undergone treatment before. The primary drug on admission is recorded using the F-codes in the ICD-10 diagnosis system.

In 2014, according to the NPR, 17 335 people received drug treatment, including opioid substitution therapy. Of those, 8 581 clients entered treatment in the course of 2014, based on reports from 135 units providing inpatient and outpatient care. The majority of clients entered treatment through outpatient units. Around 70 % of the treatment clients were male; the mean age was 34. In 2014 similar proportions of treatment entrants reported opioids or cannabis as their primary illicit drug of abuse (around 23 % for each drug), followed by amphetamines (13 %). However, nearly a third of all clients reported more than one drug (F-19 multiple drug use) as the main problem when entering treatment. From 2010 onwards there has been an increase in treatment entrants due to cannabis use, while the proportion of those who seek treatment due to opioid use has declined.

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

Drug-related infectious diseases

Content for drug-related infectious diseases: 

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections are reported to the Norwegian Notification System for Infectious Diseases (MSIS), which is a national reporting system. The number of HIV cases among people who inject drugs (PWID) remains relatively low. In 2014, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, a total of 268 new cases of HIV infection were reported in Norway, of which seven were PWID. Four of the cases were persons of foreign origin who had been infected before arriving in Norway. The incidence of HIV among PWID has remained at a stable low level over the last decade, with seven to 13 cases of HIV infection a year. In 2014 HIV prevalence among 7 083 PWID in contact with health services was about 2.4 %. Despite the relatively stable incidence of HIV among PWID, the data show high prevalence and incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV), which indicates that there is still extensive needle sharing.

There was a considerable increase in the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections among PWID between 1995 and 2008, and it has remained relatively stable since then. Free of charge HBV vaccination has been offered to PWIDs since the mid-1980s. In 2014 there was one acute and seven chronic HBV cases among PWID (out of a total of 22 and 673, respectively). All PWID attending free syringe distribution centres in Oslo are also offered HBV testing. In a 2012 study the results showed that 35 % of PWID in contact with the syringe programme were infected with HBV (positive aHBc; 116 people tested). The HCV notification system was launched in 2008 and contains data on all laboratory-confirmed HCV cases, regardless of whether the case is acute or chronic. In 2014 some 1 213 HCV cases were reported, but information on risk factors was missing in about 40 % of the reported cases, while injecting drug use was the suspected risk factor for 86 % of cases (625 out of 725 cases) with a known transmission route. In 2014 tests on injecting drug users receiving opioid substitution treatment indicated HCV prevalence of 62.1 % (of 6 848 clients tested), which remains roughly the same as in 2010–13.

In 2013–14 minor outbreaks of wound botulism were reported among injecting heroin users in the Oslo area. Contaminated heroin or other substances mixed with the drug were mentioned as a likely source of the infection.

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

Drug-induced deaths and mortality

Content for drug-induced deaths: 

Up to 2010 data on drug-induced deaths were collected by two bodies: Statistics Norway (SSB), based on the General Mortality Register (GMR); and the Special Registry of the National Criminal Investigation Service. In 2010 the National Criminal Investigation Service decided to stop publishing these figures. The SSB data are based on medical examiners’ reports, autopsy reports and death certificates in accordance with ICD-10 in the GMR. Data extraction and reporting from the GMR is in line with EMCDDA definitions and recommendations.

In 2013 a total of 234 drug-induced deaths were recorded in the GMR, compared to 246 in 2012 and 262 in 2011. The available data appear to indicate the possibility of a gradual downward trend in overdose mortality in most recent years. The majority of deaths were among males (179 cases). In recent years there has been increase in the age of the victims. The trend levelled off in 2013, when the mean age of victims was 40 years, and the proportion of death cases among younger people slightly increased when compared to earlier years. Toxicological confirmations were available in all drug-induced deaths, and analysis confirmed that 186 drug-induced deaths in 2013 involved opioids with or without additional drugs. Heroin accounted for slightly less than a third of these cases, while presence of methadone in opioid-related deaths increased in 2010–12, followed by a slight reduction. Two or more psychoactive substances were found to be present in a large proportion of drug-related deaths.

The most recent drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15–64 years) was 67.8 deaths per million, compared to the 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: 

Since the reform in drugs policy from January 2004 onwards, the Norwegian state, represented by four regional health authorities, has been responsible for the specialist treatment of drug and alcohol users, while municipalities bear overall responsibility for ensuring mental and somatic health services, outreach outpatient services/community teams, services for next of kin, low-threshold services, assessment and referral to treatment, and follow-up during and after treatment in the specialist health services or in prison. Treatment is mainly financed by public funds. In addition, the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion and the Ministry of Health and Care Services have extraordinary funds at their disposal for the development of special high-priority work in the areas of epidemiology, research, prevention and treatment.

The majority of treatment services available to drug users, whether outpatient or inpatient, treat addiction in general, and are not specifically designed for users of illicit drugs. The treatment and care programmes may be classified into four categories: (i) outpatient functions and assessment units; (ii) detoxification; (iii) inpatient treatment of less than six months; and (iv) inpatient treatment of more than six months. Inpatient treatment includes detoxification, stabilisation and assessment, short- and long-term inpatient treatment.

Opioid substitution treatment (OST) using methadone has been available through a nationwide programme since 1998, while buprenorphine has been available since 2001. In 2010 new national guidelines for OST came into force. These guidelines aim to increase nationwide access to OST as part of a comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation process. Following the guidelines, OST provision is now integrated into health trusts, the specialist care services under the auspices of the regional health authorities, and they have been given the authority to make an overall assessment of treatment need, initiate and follow up the treatment. The health trusts either organise the provision of OST by a unit with separate management and a dedicated team, or integrate OST as part of an interdisciplinary specialist treatment without separate management. However, the guidelines retain the basic model of a tripartite collaboration comprising social security offices, general practitioners and the specialist health services, where the latter is given authority to assess OST need, while general practitioners can only operate within strict shared care arrangements with specialised drug treatment centres. Nevertheless, general practitioners play a key role in the provision of OST as they prescribe the medication of about two-thirds of clients. In 2011 further guidance was provided on pregnant women in OST and the follow-up of families until children reach school age.

At the end of 2014 a total of 7 433 clients were in OST, about 40 % of whom were on methadone (2 958), while about 57 % received a buprenorphine/naloxone combination (4 259). The remaining clients were treated with slow-release morphine. The number of OST clients has been increasing steadily by around 500 from year to year, although some reductions in new admissions have been recorded since 2011. However, at the same time, the proportion of clients treated with methadone has been relatively steadily declining in the recent years following a recommendation of the guidelines, which does not suggest it as the first choice option.

See the Treatment profile for Norway for additional information. 

Harm reduction responses

Content for harm reduction responses: 

Interventions in the area of harm reduction in Norway broadly include low-threshold health measures, needle and syringe distribution programmes and outreach work. A national overdose strategy for 2014–17, adopted in 2013, calls for activities to prevent overdose risk to be scaled up and promotes emergency assistance and treatment for drug users. In spring 2014 a trial project of nasal naloxone sponsored by the Ministry of Health and Care Services was launched in Oslo and Bergen. Within this project, low-threshold staff were trained and overdose response kits given out to drug users. The project is being expanded to training the police and security staff, and staff at detoxification centres, emergency centres and prisons. Results are monitored in cooperation with ambulance services in the two cities. In addition to this initiative, both cities have adopted their action plans regarding open drug scenes and are promoting — in parallel to structural and environmental measures — the expansion of treatment and rehabilitation opportunities.

In Norway the municipalities, supported by the Government grant scheme, are responsible for the organisation of low-threshold measures on the basis of local needs and challenges. An overview from 2010 showed that 48 municipalities had such measures in place. Some have developed the measures in cooperation with voluntary organisations, while others provide them within health and social services. Several municipalities have established a field nursing service involving considerable outreach activity. The services offered are health checks, treatment of sores, vaccinations (including the provision of free hepatitis A and B vaccines), distribution of injecting equipment, nutritional and hygiene guidance, prevention of overdoses, general advice and guidance, follow-up and referral to other parts of the health service, etc. In 2012 an estimated three million syringes were distributed to PWID, just over a half of these in Oslo; data for 2014 covering the largest cities indicate some decrease in syringe demand, in Oslo in particular. Almost all pharmacies in Norway sell needles and syringes to PWID, but the data on these sales are not available.

A drug injecting room in the centre of Oslo, established under a temporary Act, became operational from February 2005. In 2009 the temporary Act was made permanent and municipalities that wish to establish injecting rooms now have a legal basis for doing so. However, only Oslo has so far made use of the Act, by making the facility permanent in 2009. Since that time, around 1 200–1 500 clients have visited the centre each year and the number of supervised injections reached over 35 000 (in both 2013 and 2014).

See the Harm reduction overview for Norway for additional information. 

Drug markets and drug-law offences

Content for Drug markets and drug-law offences: 

According to the Norwegian Customs, most amphetamines in Norway come from illegal laboratories in Poland and the Baltic states, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. Cannabis resin and also herbal cannabis mostly comes from Morocco via the Netherlands or Spain, while it is also believed that some domestic cultivation of cannabis resin takes place in indoor facilities. Heroin is brought to Norway from the western Balkans, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany. The most recent data indicate that cocaine enters Norway through the western Balkan countries or Spain, other European countries or directly from South America (via ‘body packers’). Ecstasy/MDMA available in the Norwegian market comes mainly from the Netherlands. Smuggling of other psychoactive substances including gamma- hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), khat, tranquilisers, hallucinogens and new psychoactive substances was also reported by Customs in 2012–14.

The National Crime Investigation Service provides data on drug seizures. In 2014 cannabis and amphetamines were seized in all 27 police districts, while cocaine and heroin was seized in 26; however, the quantities vary considerably between the districts. The number of drug seizures has continued to increase, but the growth was far smaller than that registered between 2009–10. In 2014 a record quantity of 505 kg of herbal cannabis was seized in Norway. In 2014 a total of 1 919 kg of cannabis resin was seized, which is lower than in 2013 (2 283 kg seized); however, analysis indicates an increase in the purity of the seized substances. With regard to cannabis plants, an increase in the number of seizures was noted from 2010, which indicates an increase in small-scale domestic production in Norway, with the quantities fluctuating between 151 kg in 2010 and 276 kg in 2014.

An increase in the number of amphetamines seizures since the beginning of the century was largely attributed to a more than tenfold increase in the number of methamphetamine seizures, from 392 in 2001 to 4 210 in 2013, while the number of amphetamine seizures has declined for the same period. In 2014, however, a record number of 5 397 amphetamine seizures was registered, while the number of methamphetamine seizures almost halved when compared to 2013, with a total of 2 748 seizures reported most recently. If in past years it was observed that methamphetamine had partly taken over the market for amphetamines, in 2014 the situation was reversed. A total of 16 kg of methamphetamine was seized in 2001, and it increased to a maximum of 196 kg seized in 2013. In 2014 a total of 105 kg of methamphetamine was seized. The amounts of seized amphetamine increased to 318 kg in 2013, which is comparable with levels before 2008, and remained at 315 kg and 1 762 tablets in 2014. In 2014 an increase in the average purity of amphetamine was also reported.

For heroin, there were 1 294 seizures reported in 2014, which is slightly more than in 2012–13, but remains below 2009–10 levels. The quantity of seized heroin has some annual variation (44.4 kg in 2014; 55.1 kg in 2013; 44.5 kg in 2012), but remains below the quantities seized in 2009–10.

In 2013 record amounts of cocaine were seized. The number of cocaine seizures reached 1 086, and 188 kg of substance was seized, which is a fourfold increase when compared to 2011–12. In 2014 cocaine was involved in 1 101 seizures, and 149 kg of substance was seized. The large quantities reported in recent years are linked mainly to a single large seizure each year.

Following a decline in the number of ecstasy/MDMA seizures up to 2010, in recent years ecstasy/MDMA has been seized more often, and has been seized more frequently in the powder rather than tableted form. In the period 2010–13 the number of ecstasy tablets seized ranged from 3 969 in 2010 to 7 298 in 2013. In addition, almost 3 kg of powder was seized in 2013. In 2014 a total of 54 185 tablets and 10.7 kg of powder was seized in Norway, which is a record quantity for the country. There were 929 seizures of new psychoactive substances in 2014, which is on a par with the number of seizures in 2013.

A total of 48 152 drug-law offences were reported in 2014, which is slightly less than in 2013, when the highest number since 2001 was reported. The proportion of use-related and supply-related offences was almost equal, at 51 % and 49 % respectively.

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

National drug laws

Content for National drug laws: 

In Norway there are no separate laws relating to illicit drugs alone. The use and possession of minor quantities of drugs falls under the provision of the Act on Medicinal Products. Penalties comprise fines or imprisonment for up to six months. The manufacture, acquisition, import, export, storage and trafficking of narcotic drugs are prohibited by Penal Code § 231, the penalty for which is fines and/or imprisonment of up to two years. An offence may also be aggravated, following a special evaluation that will consider what type of substance is involved, its quantity and the nature of the offence. Pursuant to Penal Code § 232, aggravated drug felonies are punished by up to 10 years’ imprisonment. If a ‘considerable quantity’ is involved, the term of imprisonment may be 3–15 years, and ‘very aggravating circumstances’ may give rise to up to 21 years’ imprisonment. Nevertheless, in Norway, the Act on Sentence Execution § 12 allows for voluntary treatment as an alternative to a prison sentence. This decision is made by the governor of the Prison Service Institutions, while the overriding responsibility lies with the Correctional Services of the Ministry of Justice. A three-year trial scheme for a drug treatment programme under court control started in 2006. It has since been extended until the end of 2014, and was finally proposed as a permanent and nationwide programme by the Government in 2016.

In 2013 a new Regulation relating to narcotics entered in force, including a generic scheduling of ten groups of substances, of which seven include synthetic cannabinoids, covering mainly groups of new psychoactive substances discovered since 2011. Additionally, around 100 new psychoactive substances were added to the list of narcotic substances up to 2014.

In 2012 Norway introduced drug driving limits for 20 narcotic substances and potentially intoxicating medicinal drugs, and sentencing limits have been set for 13 substances.

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

National drug strategy

Content for National drug strategy: 

The current objectives of Norway’s drug policy are contained in the 2012 government White Paper ‘See me! A comprehensive drugs and alcohol policy’. The paper deals with alcohol, illicit drugs, addictive medications and doping. These substances are addressed through five areas: (i) prevention and early intervention; (ii) coordination — services working together; (iii) greater competence and better quality services; (iv) help for those with severe dependency — reducing the number of overdose fatalities; and (v) efforts aimed at next-of-kin and at reducing harm to third parties.

The White Paper considers limiting the availability of drugs and alcohol to be the most effective prevention strategy. This involves a restrictive alcohol policy, combating drugs through prohibition and targeting drug trafficking and organised crime. It supports the further development of opioid substitution programmes to provide greater access to treatment and seeks to reduce open drug scenes.

The objectives of the 2012 White Paper have been supported and elaborated by subsequent government White Papers and strategies with a more targeted focus. These include the prevention-focused 2014 Public Health White Paper, ‘Coping and opportunities’, and the National Overdose Strategy 2014–17. The main goal of the National Overdose Strategy is to reduce fatal overdoses by: initiating life-saving measures as quickly as possible after an overdose has occurred; increasing the accessibility of substitution treatment; promoting a transition from injection of heroin to inhalation among users. A new action plan to further implement the objectives of the 2012 White Paper was approved by the Government in 2016. The main objectives in this plan are: (i) secure client participation through free choice of treatment and client initiated measures; (ii) ensure that people who are at risk of developing drug problems are identified and helped at an early stage; (iii) available, varied, and holistic services for all; (iv) an active and meaningful existence for all; and (v) the development and increased use of alternative penal sanctions and correctional programmes. 

Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs

Content for Coordination mechanism in the field of drugs: 

The Ministry of Health and Care Services is responsible for the overall coordination of the alcohol and drug policy, while each ministry is responsible for its respective areas. The Directorate of Health is responsible for the overall day-to-day coordination of the alcohol and drug policy.

The Directorate of Health is the government’s primary adviser in health and social affairs matters. The Directorate is responsible for coordinating national prevention efforts. Its most important responsibility is to ensure that the health and social affairs policies that are adopted are implemented in accordance with the Ministry’s guidelines.

The municipalities are responsible for drug prevention and care services for drug addicts. Four regional health authorities are responsible for providing the necessary specialist health services to the population in their respective regions.

There are seven regional drug and alcohol competence centres responsible for carrying out a broad range of activities. These include assisting municipalities and specialist health services with professional development, and initiating measures in conjunction with county governors to facilitate improvements in quality standards. The regional centres are responsible for implementing national and professional guidelines relating to drugs and alcohol.

Public expenditure

Content for Public expenditure: 

There are no associated comprehensive budgets for the Norwegian action plan (2007–12) but authorities estimated that overall between 2007 and 2011 approximately EUR 125 million of public funds were allocated to drug-related activities. Both the method and the data used to calculate this estimate could not be assessed. The expiring of the action plan in 2012 was succeeded by strategies with prioritised goals.

In the escalation plan for the period 2016–20, the drug and alcohol fields will have a budget of EUR 266.7 million (NOK 2.4 billion). Additionally, funding for interdisciplinary specialised treatment for problem drug and alcohol use is expected to receive an additional budget of EUR 20.5 million (NOK 185 million) in 2016.

Over the last decade, due to the decentralised health and social service systems in Norway, a large number of authorities, institutions and organisations have been involved in drug policy funding. Because of this system of funding and the lack of consolidated data, trends in drug-related public expenditures cannot be estimated.

The available information does not allow reporting on the total size and trends in drug-related public expenditure in Norway.

Drug-related research

Content for Drug-related research: 

Norway’s drug-related research covers drugs, alcohol, tobacco and, to a certain extent, gambling. Research into drugs and alcohol is one of the priorities of the government’s investment in research and falls within the objectives of improving quality and developing skills in the drugs and alcohol field. The main funding sources are governmental departments, partly through the Research Council of Norway, and partly through the Directorate of Health. Research is mainly conducted by the former Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research (SIRUS), now incorporated in the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), the Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research (SERAF) and other departments of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (biomedicine). Research is also carried out by some university departments and privately funded research institutes. Several websites, including the FHI (national focal point) website, disseminate research findings, along with scientific and non-scientific national and international journals. Recent drug-related studies mainly focused on aspects related to the prevalence, patterns and consequences of drug use.

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) 2012   2.68 0.2 10.7      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   23.0% 4% 90%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 2% 89%      
Purity — heroin brown (%) 2014   20.0% 7% 52%      
Price per gram — heroin brown (EUR) 2012   EUR 114 EUR 23 EUR 140      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   1.0% 1% 5%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   2.3% 0% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   1.0% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   1.0% 0% 38%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 40%      
Purity (%) 2014   33.0% 20% 64%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2012   EUR 95 EUR 47 EUR 107      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   1.0% 1% 7%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   1.1% 0% 3%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   0.6% 0% 1%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   13.4% 0% 70%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 75%      
Purity (%) 2014   37.0% 1% 49%      
Price per gram (EUR) 2012   EUR 38 EUR 3 EUR 63      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   1.0% 1% 4%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   0.4% 0% 6%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   0.1% 0% 2%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   0.0% 0% 2%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 0% 2%      
Purity (mg of MDMA base per unit) 2011   62 mg 27 mg 131 mg      
Price per tablet (EUR) 2006   EUR 13 EUR 4 EUR 16      
Prevalence of drug use — schools (%) 2011   5.0% 5% 42%      
Prevalence of drug use — young adults (%) 2014   8.6% 0% 24%      
Prevalence of drug use — all adults (%) 2014   4.2% 0% 11%      
All clients entering treatment (%) 2014   22.7% 3% 63%      
New clients entering treatment (%) :   : 7% 77%      
Potency — herbal (%) 2012   10.8% 3% 15%      
Potency — resin (%) 2011   13.0% 3% 29%      
Price per gram — herbal (EUR) :   : EUR 3 EUR 23      
Price per gram — resin (EUR) 2012   EUR 13 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) 2013   2.4 0.2 9.2      
Drug-related infectious diseases/deaths                
HIV infections newly diagnosed (cases / million) 2014   1.4 0.0 50.9      
HIV prevalence (%) 2014   2.4% 0% 31%      
HCV prevalence (%) 2014   62.1% 15% 84%      
Drug-related deaths (rate/million) 2014   67.8 2.4 113.2      
Health and social responses                
Syringes distributed 2014   2 124 180 382 7 199 660      
Clients in substitution treatment 2014   7 433 178 161 388      
Treatment demand                
All clients 2014   8 581 271 100 456      
New clients :   : 28 35 007      
All clients with known primary drug 2014   8 581 271 97 068      
New clients with known primary drug :   : 28 34 088      
Drug law offences                
Number of reports of offences 2014   48 152 537 282 177      
Offences for use/possession 2014   24 671 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).

  Year Norway EU (27 countries) Source
Population  2014 5 107 970 506 944 075 pep Eurostat
Population by age classes 15–24  2014 13.1 % 11.3 % bep Eurostat
25–49 34.6 % 34.7 % bep
50–64 18.2 % 19.9 % bep
GDP per capita in PPS (Purchasing Power Standards) 1  2017 178 100 Eurostat
Total expenditure on social protection (% of GDP) 2  2013 25.0 % : Eurostat
Unemployment rate 3  2015 4.4 % 9.4 % Eurostat
Unemployment rate of population aged under 25 years  2015 9.9 % 20.3 % Eurostat
Prison population rate (per 100 000 of national population) 4  2014 72.8  : Council of Europe, SPACE I-2014.1
At risk of poverty rate 5  2014 10.9 % 17.2 %  SILC

Contact information for our focal point

Address and contact: 

Norwegian Institute of Public Health

P.O. Box 4404 Nydalen
NO-0403 Oslo

Tel. +47 21077000

Head of national focal point: Mr Thomas Anton Sandøy

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