"High-risk opioid users are a heterogeneous group that includes marginalised drug users with long-standing ‘careers’ of heroin use, as well as socially included persons who became addicted to opioids through excessive consumption of prescribed pharmaceuticals. The description of high-risk opioid use does not include stable patients in opioid substitution treatment (OST) or others using pharmaceutical opioids in accordance with a doctor’s prescription. Patients in OST who misuse prescribed drugs or other opioids than the prescribed one(s) shall be included, however.
"As of 1 January 2012, there were a total of 4,052 inmates in Norwegian prisons, including those serving their sentences at home with electronic monitoring and those remanded in custody. Of all inmates at the start of the year, 29 per cent were serving sentences for drug offences (2011: 30%), 22 per cent for crimes against property and 21 per cent for violent crimes as their primary offence. Of the 910 persons held on remand at the start of 2012, 36 per cent had drug crime as their primary offence, approximately the same proportion as in 2011 (37%)."
"According to Statistics Norway, a total of 49,400 drug crimes were reported in 2013. This is 3,500 more than in 2012 and corresponds to 9.8 reported drug offences per 1,000 population. This is the highest level of drug offences since 2002.
"In 2013, investigations by the police and prosecution authorities resulted in a total of 174,700 charges against 82,300 different persons. That is almost 1,200 more charges and 1,350 more persons charged than in 2012. The increase was largest for drug offences. A total of 19,623 persons were charged with more than 39,300 drug offences in 2013. This is an increase of nine and eight per cent, respectively, from 2012. A large proportion of those charged with drug offences, 26 per cent, were also charged with other offences that carry a higher maximum sentence.
"The monitoring of hepatitis C in Norway was intensified from 1 January 2008. The notification criteria were changed so that all laboratory-confirmed cases of hepatitis C must now be reported to MSIS. Previously, only acute illness had to be reported, and this resulted in a very inadequate overview of the real incidence of the disease in the country. In 2013, 1,318 cases of hepatitis C (both acute and chronic cases) were reported.
"In the period 1995–2008, a considerable increase in hepatitis B among drug users nationwide was reported to MSIS. In 2013, four of a total of 30 reported cases of acute hepatitis B involved injecting drug users. During the period 1995–2013, the total number of reported cases of acute hepatitis B infection among injecting drug users was 1,980. Hepatitis B vaccination has been offered free of charge to injecting drug users since the mid-1980s."
"In 2013, 233 cases of HIV infection were reported to the Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (MSIS). Eight of the cases were among injecting drug users: six men and two women. The median age was 31 years (30 to 37 years). Five of the eight injecting drug users who were diagnosed as HIV positive in 2013 were persons of foreign origin (mostly Eastern European) who had been infected before arriving in Norway.
"The findings on drug use are based partly on positive findings from urine tests and partly on reported use during the last 30 days. The levels are overall quite similar to 2012. A proportion of 10 per cent reported having used an illegal morphine substance during the past month, 33 per cent cannabis, 16 per cent stimulants and as many as 42 per cent benzodiazepines. This figure includes both prescribed and non-prescribed benzodiazepines. Twenty-five per cent of all patients report having been prescribed the drug by a doctor. In other words, the others must have used illegal sources.
Ranges for the number of people in Norway who inject drugs, 2002-2010
"The estimated number of injecting drug users in Norway was also reported prior to the revision, using the mortality multiplier method. This method divides the number of drug-related deaths by the likelihood of dying of a drug-related diagnosis in the population of injectors in the 15–64 age group. First, an estimate of the number of recreational users was subtracted from the nominator because they are less likely to have injected the substance that caused the death.