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Germany Drug Use Facts, Policies & Trends

  1. "In the last years, the formerly narrow drug policy concept has gradually evolved into a crosssubstance 'addiction' policy which brings the common aspects of psychotropic substances more into the foreground of the interest of drug experts and politicians. The 'Action Plan Drugs and Addiction' which has been presented by the drug commissioner of the German Federal Government in June 2003 and which is supposed to serve as a framework for the national addiction policy for the next five to ten years, makes this approach clearly visible for the first time as part of an overall political concept.
    "The four pillars on which the addiction policy rests, are prevention, counseling and treatment of drug users, survival aides and harm reduction as well as repression and reduction of the supply especially of illicit drugs. With regard to prevention, the reduction of tobacco consumption forms the top goal. Counseling and treatment services are to be further developed and expanded. Here, quality assurance and development require a permanent effort. The intensification of the cooperation between various institutions involved such as emergency aid, psychosocial counseling but also counseling for young people is to make drug care more effective and efficient. Hereby, the specific needs of female drugs users are to be given special attention.
    "A series of legal framework conditions with regard to substitution have already been changed in order to facilitate access to these services and secure the quality of these measures. Together with other drug policy measures these changes are to be evaluated in the future with respect to their effectiveness.
    "While the German federal states support the national Addiction and Drug Plan in general, some however have shifted the focus of the plan or do not lend their support to individual initiatives."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2002" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, Oct. 2003), p. IX.

  2. "In Germany the Consitutional Court decided in 1994 that prosecution for possession of very small quantities of cannabis might be waived as a rule in cases of occasional personal consumption, small quantities and where there is no danger to others. The federal Länder must provide uniform application of this provision."

    Source: "Decriminalisation in Europe? Recent Developments in Legal Approaches to Drug use" (Lisbon, Portugal: European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, November 2001), p. 6, available on the web at http://wldd.emcdda.org/databases/eldd_comparative_analyses.cfm.

  3. Germany Drug Use Statistics

  4. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Almost 2 million German citizens (4.5% in the West and 2.3% in the East) aged between 18 and 59 have used cannabis in the past 12 months. In Eastern Germany there is an increasing use of cannabis compared to the representative surveys in 1995. Recent use (last 12 months) is 2 times as frequent among men than among women and is much more widespread in younger age groups (18-39 years) 7.8% in the West and 4.5% in the East) than among elder people. The figures from the new Laender prove that cannabis use has already spread considerably there."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), pp. 23-24.

  5. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "The use of drugs other than cannabis has become much more significant in comparison to previous years. This most probably is linked to an increasingly spread of ecstasy use. In spite of this, reported experiences with drugs mostly still related to cannabis use. Only around one third of all persons with drug experience, 6.8% of younger adults (18-39 years) in the West and 2.5% in the East report, having ever used a drug other than cannabis. Lifetime experiences with other illegal drugs can be found mostly between 1.3% (East) and 4.5% (West) (in case of heroin less than 1%) of the population. In the West amphetamines, ecstasy, LSD and cocaine are more frequently consumed, in the East ecstasy and amphetamines."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 24.

  6. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "With regard to experience with drugs (lifetime) among adults aged between 18 and 59, the latest representative surveys (Kraus & Bauernfeind 1998) reveal that in the old Laender 14.2% of the subjects have used illegal drugs during their lifetime. Taken as a proportion of the population as a whole, this corresponds to around 5.7 million adults with experience of drugs. Within this group there are plainly more men with experience of drugs (17.1%) than women (11.3%). In the group of younger adults aged between 18 and 39, the proportion of people with experience of drugs is as high as 21.5%. In the new Laender the prevalence rates are considerably lower. The figure for adults between 18 and 59 with experience of drugs is 4.8%, representing 400,000 people (240,000 men, 161,000 women). In this group the frequency of experience with drugs among men is almost 50% higher as among women. As in the old Laender, higher prevalence rates are found in the group of younger adults aged from 18 to 39. The corresponding proportion in the new Laender is 8.9%, more than half of the level in the old Laender."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 26.

  7. Germany Harm Reduction

  8. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "On the basis of the report from the AIDS centre of the Robert Koch Institute (http://hiv.rki.de) the proportion of drug addicts amongst new notified AIDS cases in 1999 was about 12% in Germany. In Hamburg and Baden-Wurttemberg its percentage of 34.6% and 26% was nationally at its highest (Table 12). Referred to a cumulative total number of 18,524 AIDS cases in the register the percentage is 14.9%. It has been possible to slow down substantially the spread of the HI-virus among drug users in the last years. Prevention measures, campaigns to discourage needle-sharing and innovations such as substitution and syringe-exchange programmes have clearly had an effect here."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 60.

  9. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Sterile syringes can be bought cheaply in pharmacies. If drug users don't have money, the pharmacy is obliged to deliver cost free sterile syringes to them. They can also be handed out or exchanged at syringe machines or at syringe exchange services of the AIDS and drug help services. In some German cities general mobile needle exchange services for intravenous drug users are existing, in Hamburg for example there is a DROB-INN bus nearby the railway station. Also for the prevention of hepatitis in Germany measures to prevent infections are offered to drug addicts and persons at risk."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 105.

  10. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Given the fact that about 80% of drugs addicts are unemployed, about 50% don't have any professional training, about 60 to 70% have no sufficient school education and about 20% do not have stable housing there are diverse areas of responsibilities. It has to be taken into consideration that the development of drug addiction was often accompanied by school or job failure, therefore qualification in this specific area is absolutely necessary in treatment of drug addiction. Facing about 60,000 treated drug addicts per year at least 30,000 offers in the field of re-integration should be available. In fact existing services in the field of occupation/ qualification can reach about 1,500 persons, in the field of education about 300 persons, in the field of housing about 2,000 persons and in the field of culture (theatre, music, arts etc.) about 200 persons at best."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 110.

  11. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "At the end of February 2000 German Federal Parliament and Federal Chamber of German Laender agreed upon a law, which is expected to create a safe legal position for drug consumption rooms. §10a of the third amendment of the Narcotic Law (BtMG) contains a catalogue of minimum requirements for rooms, as well as for medical and social care. the first aim is to reduce the risks of drug intake through appropriate framework conditions and legalise staff activities. It has also been clarified that staff is forbidden to actively support drug consumption. When opening drug consumption rooms abstinence-oriented counseling and treatment have to be offered to opiate addicts and arranged if wanted. Each Land government is free to allow drug consumption rooms and to create corresponding rules. It is up to the Land government to pass a decree and fulfill by that requirements for a permission of drug consumption rooms. The mentioned legal procedures have to be installed in the Federal Laender within two years after coming into force of the new decree. This has taken place in Hamburg (April 2000) and in North Rhine-Westphalia (September 2000)."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 4-5.

  12. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "In April 2000 the Hamburg Land parliament was the first Federal land to pass the legal basis for drug consumption rooms according to the requirements of the Third Amendment of the Narcotic Law.... In the eight Hamburg drug consumption rooms opiate addicts ought to be motivated to treatment or to substitution aiming at quitting drug use."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 9.

  13. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "Based on results and experiences from the study in Switzerland and now also from the Netherlands a clinical multi-centre study on ambulatory heroin supported treatment of heroin addicts will be designed in Germany. The study will include the clinical trial of heroin based prescriptions."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 5.

  14. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "The German government also has intensified the discussion on the legal position of non-medical use (possession and purchase) of cannabis products. The Federal Constitutional Court has requested the Laender already in 1994 to use uniform conditions and limits for the prosecution of an offence when cannabis for personal use is not prosecuted. The 'small amounts' and further legal requirements to stop prosecution are still defined differently in the regulations of the Land justice administrations. For cannabis it varies between 5 and 30 gram, for heroin between 0.5 and 6g. In the practice of courts and public prosecutors nation-wide more than 90% of all criminal procedures with a maximum of 10g cannabis are suspended however."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 8.

  15. According to "Germany Drug Situation 2000," a report prepared for the European Union's European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, "While penalties for drug trafficking increased during the last years, other legal regulations comprise to depenalise drug users partially. Courts or prosecuting attorneys' offices should refrain from prosecution and judges should refrain from penalties, in case only minor guilt would be judged for the offender, only 'insignificant quantities' of drugs for personal use are involved, there is no public interest in prosecution and especially others are not endangered of have been harmed."

    Source: Report to the European Monitoring Center on Drugs and Drug Addiction by the Reitox National Focal Point of Germany, Institut fur Therapieforschung (Institute for Therapy Research (IFT)), "Germany Drug Situation 2000" (Germany: IFT and EMCDDA, December 2000), p. 12.

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