Drug Abuse in the Global Village



                        Extent of Drug Abuse

Estimates of the extent of drug abuse in Luxembourg are based on police convictions and treatment data. Cannabis, heroin and benzodiazepines were reported as important drugs of abuse in 1989 (ARQ 1989). Cocaine abuse is reported secondary to heroin abuse. Abuse of amphetamines is reported insignificant. The prevalence of multiple drug abuse is on the increase. Among the 668 drug abusers registered with the police, 191 were multiple drug addicts (Luxembourg 1991).

                       Abuser Characteristics

Males exceed female abusers (80 per cent of 1071 convicts in 1991 and 67 per cent of abusers in treatment) (ARQ 1992). Among those convicted of drug related offences, 61 per cent are between 20 and 29 years old. The majority are unemployed or manual workers (Luxembourg 1991).

            The age of drug abusers in treatment is increasing and the number of abusers under 18 years of age convicted of drug related offences has increased (Luxembourg 1991).


The drug abuse problem is reported to have worsened in the second half the 1980s and stabilized at a high level since (Luxembourg 1991). An increase in the abuse of cocaine, cannabis and in particular, heroin was reported for 1992. The street price of heroin and cocaine decreased due to increasing availability. A large decrease in abuse of hallucinogens, and to a lesser extent that of amphetamines, was reported for 1992. Sedative type drug abuse remained stable (ARQ 1992).


                             Mode of intake

Cocaine is reported sniffed but also injected. Heroin is inhaled, sniffed and injected and amphetamine is both ingested and injected. Abuse of heroin and amphetamines combinations are reported as well as that of combinations of cocaine, sedatives and alcohol (ARQ 1992).


Drug related deaths. A total of 17 drug related deaths were reported for 1992 (ARQ 1992) (15 in 1990, 9 due to overdose). An increase in deaths due to drug overdose has been noted (Luxembourg 1991).

HIV/AIDS. Of the total 67 cases of AIDS reported for 1993, 17.9 per cent injected drugs (European Centre 1993). HIV seroprevalence among drug abusers tested is approximately 3 per cent. This proportion has not changed in the last five years (Luxembourg 1991).


                           National Strategy

An Inter Ministerial Committee consisting of the Ministries of Health, Justice, Education and of Family has been created to coordinate drug abuse control activities (Luxembourg 1991). In addition a Multidisciplinary Committee consisting of representatives from law authorities and treatment and care authorities is operating with the aim of studying and applying drug abuse control measures, defining specific treatment programmes for individual cases and informing law authorities of the outcomes of treatment of drug addicts who have had their sentence suspended while under treatment (Luxembourg 1991).

      Structure of National Drug Control Organs

The central government unit responsible for liaison and coordination of national drug control policy is the Inter-ministerial Group for Drugs within the Ministry of Justice.



            Treaty adherence

Luxembourg is party to the 1961 Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol, the 1971 Convention and the 1988 Convention.

            Measures taken with respect to Drug Control


Recently enacted laws and regulations:
None reported.

Licensing system for manufacture, trade and distribution:
There is a government-controlled licensing system for both narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. No psychotropic substances or narcotic drugs were reported being manufactured in 1991.

Control system:
(i) Prescription requirement: There is a prescription requirement for supply or dispensation of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
(ii) Warnings on packages: The law requires warnings on packages or accompanying leaflet information to safeguard the users of preparations containing narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
(iii) Control of non-treaty substances, if any: None reported.
(iv) Other administrative measures: None reported.

            Social Measures

Penal Sanctions related to social measures: In 1991, courts applied measures of treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation or social reintegration for a drug-related offence both as an alternative and in addition to conviction or punishment.

Other social measures: None reported




                          Primary Prevention

Prevention efforts target parents, teachers and youth. Prevention is part of the national curriculum in both primary and secondary schools (the focus in primary school is mainly on tobacco and alcohol). Television, radio and newspapers all featured preventive messages in 1992. A comic book with an anti drug theme is planned for 1992/1993 aimed at young people (ARQ 1992).

            AIDS prevention. Public information regarding AIDS/HIV has been carried out. Street workers convey to drug addicts information on infection prevention and safe sexual practices, manage needle exchange programmes and distribute free condoms (Luxembourg 1991).

                 Treatment and Rehabilitation

Luxembourg has one therapeutic community caring for 51 patients in 1992, most of which are males (40), one psychiatric hospital providing treatment to drug abusers and 2 mobile counselling and detoxification centres treating 409 patients (275 males). Of the 55 patients in the therapeutic community in 1992, 40 per cent had relapsed one year after the treatment (ARQ 1992).

             A pilot methadone maintenance programme began in 1989 to prevent AIDS and care for pregnant drug abusers. Strict admission criteria apply. Results of a 1991 evaluation of the programme is pending.

             Drug addicts in prisons. Approximately 10 per cent of the prison population in 1992 were drug abusers (9 males to 1 females). All prisons provide general medical care, drug counselling, drug related disease counselling, social reintegration, general education and after care. Detoxification in prison is not available (ARQ 1992).


      Arrests, Convictions and types of Offences

A total of 1,071 drug related offences were reported for 1992 (1,001 in 1989). Of these, 668 were committed by registered drug abusers (Luxembourg 1991).



Cannabis and heroin seizures exceed by far cocaine seizures (see table 1 for details). In addition 2 seizures totaling 0.053 kg of stimulants were reported for 1991 (ARQ 1991). Heroin seizures in 1990 decreased significantly in comparison to 1989, whereas the quantity of cocaine seized is constantly increasing.

Table 1. Number of illicit drug seizures and quantities seized in 1990.
Illicit drugs                    Number of                    Quantity seized
                                    1990    1991                1990                            1991
Heroin                         133      175      0.527 kg                                  9.988 kg
Coca leaves                4            1        0.090 kg                                  0.200 kg
Coca paste                  1            -         1.000 kg                                  -
Cocaine                       32        67       23.260 kg                                14.200 kg
Cannabis herb            46        85       18.750 kg                                1.040 kg
Cannabis resin           147      205      13.750 kg                                22.568 kg
LSD                            1            2        2.000 units                               2,651 units
Morphine                    1          -           0.460 kg                                  -
Methadone                 1          -           0.565 kg                                  -
Sources: National Report of Luxembourg to the First Pan-European Conference on the co-operation in Drug abuse Problems, Oslo, 9-10 May 1991 for 1990 data and Reply to UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaire for the year 1991.

            Supply Source of Drugs

            Seized cocaine is reported to originate from Colombia, Peru and Bolivia and cannabis from Africa (ARQ 1989).

                       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 1989, 1991.

ARQ 1989,1990,1991,1992. Replies to UNDCP Annual Reports Questionnaires for the years 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992.

Luxembourg 1991. National Report of Luxembourg to the First Pan-European Conference on the co-operation in Drug abuse Problems, Oslo, 9-10 May 1991.

European Centre 1993. European Centre for the Epidemiological Monitoring of AIDS, AIDS Surveillance in Europe, Quarterly report No. 38, 30 June 1993.