Drug Abuse in the Global Village

Czech and Slovak Republics


                        Extent of Drug Abuse

The number of registered drug abusers in 1991 was 7 809, a decrease since 1990 (9 800). It is, however, estimated that the number of drug abusers is five times higher (U.N. 1990 and 1991). Volatile solvent abuse is highest (29%), followed by opiates (26%), sedatives (18.2%) and multiple drug abuse (13.8%). One hundred drug abusers were registered as cannabis abusers, 41 to hallucinogens and 1 to cocaine (see table 1 for more details) (U.N. 1991).

Table 1. Numbers of registered drug abusers in the Czech and Slovak Republic, 1991 (U.N. 1991)
Drug category                           Number of registered abusers

                                                Czech Republic            Slovak Republic          
Opiate type
Opium              -                       -                                   -
Heroin              -                       -                                   -
Morphine         507                  13                                520
codeine                        354                            23                      377
 narcotic           629                  506                              1135
Cocaine (base/
 salts)              1                      -                                   1
Cannabis         74                    26                                100
Hallucinogens 28                    13                                41
Amphetamine Type
Amphetamine   373                  20                                393
Methamphetamine        336                  4                                  340
 amphetamines  17                    -                                   17
Sedative Type                                   
Barbiturates      227                  65                                292
Benzodiazepines           320                  85                                405
Other               473                  254                              727
Multiple drug
 abuse             715                  369                              1084
Volatile solvents        1563                699                              2262
Other drugs    80                    35                                115
Total                5697                2112                            7809


                       Abuser Characteristics

In general, drug abuse is most prevalent among those 15 to 25 years of age. Hallucinogens is prevalent among those 18 to 25 years of age; volatile solvents among those 14 to 18 years of age; codeine among those 16 to 20 years of age. However among registered drug abusers in the Slovak Republic, 47% are over 35 years old and 23% are 20 to 34 years old. Volatile solvent abuse is more common in the younger age group reaching a peak at the age of 14; after which it decreases. By the age of 19, it volatile solvent abuse is rare. Cannabis is popular among the young and the educated, where it is commonly held that the drug is harmless. Cannabis, hallucinogen and volatile solvent are abused by males mostly (U.N. 1991).

                         Regional  Variations

Drug abuse is most prevalent in urban areas and in particular, in Prague, Ostrava, Brno and Bratislava (U.N. 1991).


Abuse of volatile solvents and codeine is reported stable according to a 1990 reported (U.N. 1990). Some increase in the abuse of amphetamines is reported in 1990. A large increase in abuse of cannabis and methamphetamine is reported in 1991 (U.N., 1991). According to some reports the demand for drugs has reached epidemic proportions; the change is attributed to recent political and economic developments (Czechoslovakian Narcotic Office, 1992).

                             Mode of intake

Most drugs are ingested or inhaled. Multiple drug  abuse is very common among registered drug abusers and consumption is often associated with alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs. About 9% of the registered drug abusers are intravenous drug abusers (U.N. 1991).


HIV seroprevalence/AIDS. No cases of AIDS or HIV infection have been reported in the Republics as of June 1993 (AIDS surveillance in Europe 1993).

            Drug related deaths.  A total of 27 deaths and 34 suicides related to drug abuse were reported for 1991 (U.N. 1991).


                           National Strategy

The National Drug Programme elaborated by the Government in 1992 aims at focusing and coordinating the efforts of all ministries involved in the drug abuse problem. The drug control policies of the Czech and Slovak Republics address supply and demand reduction as well as treatment and rehabilitation (Anti-Drug Policies 1992)


                           Treaty adherence

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

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

            The Czech Republic is not Party to the above Conventions.



                          Primary Prevention

Drug preventive education is part of the national curricula of primary and secondary schools but they are considered in need of extensive development and more continuity (U.N. 1990). Some television and radio programmes broadcast drug preventive messages. Articles are published in the press and films targeted at young people have been produced (CMO 1990).

                 Treatment and Rehabilitation

Treatment is carried out in state psychiatric institutions as well as in out patient mobile treatment centres. A new system of in-patient treatment (MONAR) is in planning (U.N. 1990).


      Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences

In 1991, a total of 34 people were convicted for possession of or trafficking in illicit drugs. Of these, the majority were males (32), most over 25 years of age. Twenty one of those convicted had only elementary education (U.N., 1991).

Seizures of heroin increase to 129 kg in 1992 from 5 kg in 1990. Cannabis seizures have also increased. Cocaine seizures have decreased from 104 kg in 1991 to 3 kg in November 1992 (Czechoslovakian Narcotic Office 1992).

                      Supply Source of Drugs

Many of the Drug abused in the Republics are locally produced (Pervitin, methamphetamine and Brown). This is attributed to past isolation and inconvertibility of the local currency (U.N. 1991).

                       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. 1990 1991 1992 Responses to the UNDCP Annual Report Questionnaires for the years 1990, 1991 and 1992.

CMO 1990 Reply to the questionnaire regarding the seven targets of the Multidisciplinary Outline of Future Activities in Drug Abuse Control (CMO) for the year 1990.

Czechoslovakian Narcotic Office, 1992 August Report

AIDS surveillance in Europe 1993 AIDS surveillance in Europe. Quarterly Report no. 38, 30 June 1993. European Centre for the epidemiological monitoring of AIDS.

Anti-Drug Policies, 1992 Draft Anti-Drug Policies of the Governement of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, 1992.