Countries in Europe, even neighbours, have vastly different approaches to combating drug abuse.
Here is an overview.
CRIMINALISATION OF DRUG USE/CONSUMPTION:
- Drug use is a criminal offence in:
Norway, Finland, Sweden, France, Hungary, Greece, Cyprus, and Luxembourg (all drugs except for cannabis).
- Drug use is a non-criminal offence (a minor offence, misdemeanour or contravention comparable to a parking offence) in:
Portugal, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Luxembourg for cannabis.
- Drug use is not an offence in:
Ireland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Malta and Turkey. In Romania, where the use of drugs is prohibited, no penalty is specified.
- Drug possession for personal use is a criminal offence punishable by a prison sentence in most countries. No imprisonment is possible for minor possession offences in:
Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
- Only the Netherlands allows drug consumption of marijuana in sanctioned coffee shops.
- Drug use, mainly of heroin, may also be tolerated in special consumption rooms—professionally supervised areas for drug use in safer, more hygienic conditions.
HARM REDUCTION POLICIES:
- Countries that provide Heroin Assisted Treatment: (synthetic heroin injections for addicts for whom other therapies failed):
Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom.
- Countries with drug consumption rooms:
Denmark, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain.
- Countries that allow Naloxone treatment, to be administered by a friend or family member of a heroin addict in case of an overdose:
Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom.
All countries except Turkey have exchange programmes for drug addicts to obtain clean needles.
TOP 5 REPORTED DRUG LAW OFFENCES:
United Kingdom - 152,406 (2011)
TOP 5 REPORTED DRUG-RELATED ADULT DEATHS in cases per million and total count (2011 or last year with available information):
Source: The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). Data is for the 28 EU member countries plus Norway and Turkey.