Drug violence grows

  • 2013-01-23
  • From wire reports

TALLINN - Estonian police last year confiscated a record amount of narcotic substances and criminal incomes, but more drug-related deaths at the street level took place than ever before, reports Postimees.
160 people died last year because of causes connected to narcotic substances. This is the highest this indicator has ever reached in Estonia. This gives Estonia the top position among European Union states in regard to drug-related deaths in relation to population figures – in Estonia, eight times more people die a year because of drugs than in the EU, on average.

In the year 2001, 38 people died of drug overdoses in Estonia. That year, a thorough ‘National strategy of preventing drug addiction till the year 2012’ was completed that ended last year. “Despite this excellent drug strategy, we have to admit that we have failed,” said central criminal police major Risto Kasemae, meaning the whole state under the “we.”
Polls show that the number of young people experimenting with amphetamines has fallen in recent years, cannabis use has stabilized and the number of injecting drug addicts has fallen too. All these are rather indirect evaluations, and information about the spread of drug addiction is very uncertain – for example people working in the sphere say there are 5,000-20,000 injecting drug addicts in Estonia.

Last year, law enforcement confiscated more fentanyl, the favorite substance of injecting drug addicts, than in earlier years. Altogether 1.5 million euros of criminal revenues were confiscated, which is by around a half more than in 2011. While in 2007, 330 drug-related criminals were sent to jail, in 2011 this number was 561. Thus, while the police say that its work seems to improve in every aspect, still more drug addicts die each year than in preceding years.