"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.
"For 20 intoxicating substances, it has been documented that use entails an increased risk of a road accident. Concentration limits corresponding to a blood alcohol level of 0.2 mg/ml have been adopted for these substances.
"Sentencing limits corresponding to 0.5 mg/ml and 1.2 mg/ml
"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 primary objective of needle exchange programmes is to reduce the risk of infectious diseases associated with the sharing of injection equipment. Approximately 3.3 million syringes were handed out in Norway in 2007, largely through low-threshold services. In a follow-up survey carried out by SIRUS, 14 towns/municipalities reported that almost 3.1 million syringes were handed out in 2009. Of these, 85 per cent or 2,635 million were distributed in the three biggest cities Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim.
"The Government will task the Directorate of Health with drawing up a separate national strategy for reducing overdoses in collaboration with relevant agencies, such as user and next-of-kin organisations and the municipalities. The goal is an annual reduction of the number of overdose fatalities. The purpose is to stimulate the development of more local strategies for municipalities that have registered overdose fatalities. The local strategies should have concrete targets and measures in the following areas:
"Naloxone is the most common antidote used for overdoses. It is normally ambulance personnel who administer naloxone in connection with opioid overdoses, and doses are administered by intramuscular or intravenous injection. It is now being discussed whether naloxone in the form of a mouth spray should be available to others as well, as first aid for someone who has overdosed
until the ambulance arrives."
"The accident and emergency service in Oslo has a project called Prosjekt ungdom og rus på legevakta (‘Young people and alcohol/drugs at the accident and emergency service’), which is a specialised team that is part of the municipal emergency drug and alcohol facilities. In a collaboration between the municipality and the health authorities, the accident and emergency services in Oslo and Bergen have set up dedicated reception facilities for people with drug or alcohol problems, and observation beds for short-term admissions.
"The municipality is responsible for organising an accident and emergency service to attend to the population’s need for emergency assistance. This includes emergency assistance for people with mental illness and drug or alcohol problems.
"Emergency drug and alcohol treatment facilities have been established in several cities in recent years. The measures are organised differently, and the type of services offered varies. What they have in common is that they are open 24 hours a day, are easily accessible and provide assistance to users in an acute life situation."