Drug Abuse in the Global Village

Drug Abuse in Eastern Europe


In 1991, a total of 304 persons were convicted of drug related offences, including 273 for possession. The majority (252) were males, mainly between 20 and 29 years old (204), and unemployed (149) (U.N. 1991 Part C).


Forty five drug trafficking offences were reported in 1991 (30 in 1990, 49 in 1989), of which most were heroin related (15), codeine preparations (10), synthetic drugs (9), other opiates (8), morphine (2) and cannabis (1). Most offences are committed by men (42), 20 to 24 years of age (24), unemployed (10) and qualified workers (12) (U.N. 1989, 1990 and 1991).


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).


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).


In 1989, a total of 54 drug related convictions were reported (of which one for trafficking, the remainder for abuse and/or possession).  Of those convicted, most (37) were in the 20 to 29 age group and only three were between 15 and 19 of age. Thirty two convictions were related to opiates and 21 to cannabis. Thirty five of those convicted were males and 18 females (U.N. 1989).

            There are approximately 10 000 to 14 000 cases of forged medical prescriptions per year in Hungary. This represents the most important diversion route of licit drugs. Between 1989 and 1991, 444 drug related crimes were committed (Hungary 1991).


The crime rate in Latvia is increasing, partly due to a big turnover of police officers. The Russian police has been replaced by a young and inexperienced Latvian force (Mission Report from a preparatory meeting for Nordic-Baltic Meeting 1993).

            In the first quarter of 1993, 53 persons were arrested in Riga and surrounding areas for drug related offences (Nordic-Baltic Meeting 1993).


In 1991, 421 persons (294 males) were convicted for drug related offences (231 in 1990, 591 in 1989). Of these, 28% were below 30 years of age and 41% were peasants (U.N. 1991). About 30% of drug addicts in treatment have committed non-violent crimes in connection with drug abuse (CMO 1991).


In 1991, 14 persons were convicted of drug related offences (11 for trafficking, 3 for consumption) out of which 10 were unemployed and 10 were between 20 and 29 years old (U.N. 1991).


A three-fold increase in the number of detected drug related crimes was reported for the period 1983 to 1993 (Policy 1993).


The numbers of criminal offences and violations related to illicit drugs have increased between 1990 and 1992 (198 offences and 153 violations in 1990, 264 offences and 255 violations in 1992) (Report 1992).


In 1991, the number of drug related crimes had increased by about 37% from 1990 to reach 11,466 cases (U.N. 1991)

            The largest number of drug related offences in 1990 and 1991 were for illicit production and sale of narcotic drugs (6440 in 1990, 10,177 in 1991), followed by theft and robbery of pharmacists, pharmaceutical industry etc. (288 in 1990, 291 in 1991), and maintenance and organization of places where drugs may be consumed ("Shooting Galleries") (93 in 1990 and 162 in 1991). Other offences included inducement to use drugs, illicit growing of opiate poppies, cannabis, and violations of production, acquisition, supplying and transport of illicit drugs (U.N. 1991).