Drug Abuse in the Global Village



                        Extent of Drug Abuse

Cannabis is the most abused drug in Croatia with an estimated 90 000 annual abusers and 15 000 daily abusers. It is followed by opiates (10 000 annual abusers and 4 000 daily abusers), opium (3000 annual and 800 daily abusers and synthetic narcotic analgesics (2 000 annually and 200 daily). Heroin is reported abused daily by approximately 3 000. There are an estimated 3 000 annual abusers of cocaine and 300 daily abusers, hallucinogens (2000 annual and 500 daily abusers), 300 annual abusers of amphetamines, 3 000 daily abusers of sedatives. There are an estimated 6 000 annually and 500 daily abusers of volatile solvents. Multiple drug abuse is common; opiates are taken in combination with cannabis or cocaine, sedatives with alcohol or volatile solvents. Opium production is reported to have increased along with opium tea (infusions of poppy capsules in boiling water)
(U.N. 1992).

                       Abuser Characteristics

Males are the majority in in-patients psychiatric treatment centres (77.8% of the 401 total). Most abusers in treatment are 20 to 34 years of age (U.N. 1992).

                         Regional  Variations

The main increase in drug abuse is in larger urban centres (U.N. 1992).


Large increases in drug abuse were reported for opiates (heroin and synthetic narcotic analgesics) and cannabis. Some increase was noted for opium, cocaine, amphetamines and multiple drug abuse. A large decrease in morphine was reported. For all other drugs (hallucinogens, sedatives and volatile solvents), the situation was reported stable. The age of heroin addicts is decreasing and cocaine is reported newly available (U.N. 1992).

            The increase in the demand for drugs is attributed to the war, a decrease in the standard of living, the unstable political situation and the break in the continuity of preventive programmes (especially in schools). The large increase in the availability of drugs is reported due to the break of continuity of the special police work because of the war and a large increase in home made drugs. Drug trade has also become a source of income (U.N. 1992).

            An increase in the more liberal attitude of adolescents towards cannabis has been reported (U.N. 1992).

                             Mode of intake

The estimated proportion of intravenous drug abusers among the drug addicts is 30%. Eighty percent of opiate abusers are injecting, 10% sniffing, 5% ingesting and 5% smoking. Cocaine is reported injected by 25% of the drug abusers and sniffed by 70%. Amphetamines are not reported injected. Ninety percent of those abusing sedatives ingest them, but 10% inject them. There has been changes in the mode of intake, with increases in sniffing, smoking and inhalation and a decrease in injecting (U.N. 1992).


Reported costs estimates associated with the purchase of illicit drugs and related consequences are reported to be high (U.N. 1992).

            Drug related deaths. A total of 33 drug related deaths were reported in 1992, 24 due to abuse of opiates, 2 due to multiple drug abuse and 7 due to unspecified drugs, 10 of the deaths were of males between 25 and 29 years old (U.N. 1992).

            HIV seroprevalence/AIDS. Of the total 53 AIDS cases reported by June 1993, 7 were injecting drug abusers (European Centre 1993). In 1992, 13 HIV infected injecting drug abusers were reported (U.N. 1992).



                           National Strategy

No information reported in Annual Reports Questionnaire by 31st December 1993.


                           Treaty adherence

Croatia is Party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.


                          Primary Prevention

Prevention through education has been carried out in primary and secondary schools since 1978 and in higher education since 1980. Special training is provided to school staff (U.N. 1992).

            Basic training courses, and, if necessary further training, are provided for primary health care workers, doctors, nurses, social workers and psychologists. No programmes for prevention of drug abuse in the work place are reported (U.N. 1992).

            Voluntary organizations, religious groups, parents teacher associations and addicts self-help groups are involved in preventive activities. A media campaigns involving television, radio and newspapers was launched in 1992 (U.N. 1992).

                 Treatment and Rehabilitation

Priority is placed on out-patient programmes and drug free treatment (U.N. 1992).

            The following treatment facilities were available in 1992: 1 therapeutic community, 8 psychiatric hospitals, 7 general hospitals, 50 primary care facilities, 1 specialized detoxification facility and 2 treatment facilities in prisons (U.N. 1992).

            In 1992, a total of 402 drug abusers were undergoing treatment in Zagreb. About half were opiate addicts, 19% were sedative type drug addicts and 9% were multiple drug dependent. The success in treatment of heroin addicts is estimated at 80% (U.N. 1992).

            Methadone substitution programmes are being used increasingly (U.N. 1992).


      Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences

Heroin, cannabis and cocaine increases in supply are attributed to war related crimes and arms and drugs trading (Council of Europe, 1992). Approximately 7% of the prison population are drug abusers (U.N. 1992).


No information reported by 31st December 1993.

                      Supply Source of Drugs

Heroin originates mainly from Turkey (Council of Europe, 1992).

                       References and Notes

** The Legal, Administrative and Other Action Taken to Implement the International Drug Control Treaties section was prepared by the Secretariat of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs based on Annual Reports Questionnaires for the years .... (not available by January 15th 1994).

U.N. 1992 Reply to the UNDCP Annual Report Questionnaire for the year 1992

European Centre for the epidemiological monitoring of AIDS 1993        AIDS surveillance in Europe Quarterly report No 38, 30 June 1993

Council of Europe 1992  Estimation od the epidemiological situation during the war in Croatia, Workshop "Young people and drugs", Council of Europe, Report by Prof. S. Sakoman, Ministry of Health, Republic of Croatia, Munich 1992.