Eesti in brief

  • 2013-10-02

Seventy-five people died due to an overdose of narcotic substances in the first seven months of this year in Estonia, reports Postimees Online. In north Estonia, 56 people died of drug overdoses; in eastern Estonia 17 people in seven months died, while no OD deaths were registered in western Estonia, Interior Ministry statistics show. Interior Minister Ken-Marti Vaher said in the Riigikogu on Sept. 23 that in 2012, 113 people died of a drug overdose in Harjumaa county and Tallinn while in Ida-Virumaa county the number was 37. He noted that the current deaths are the result of the drug epidemic that took place at the end of the previous century, since in general long-term addicts die of an overdose of fentanyl. Vaher said that the state has invested considerable resources in fighting drug-related crime and hopefully it will reduce the supply in the market and result in a decrease of drug-related deaths, primarily those caused by fentanyl.

The Tartu Administrative Court decided that e-cigarettes that contain over 4 mg of nicotine are to be considered medicines and, therefore, cannot be freely sold, reports Public Broadcasting. The court thus rejected the complaint of e-cigarette seller Zandera Ltd. The company wanted to sell four e-cigarette products containing 8-19.2 mg of nicotine without applying for a sales permit for medicines, disputing the decision of the Pharmaceuticals Board that determined these products as medicines. The court considered the main factor in the decision to be the fact that the World Health Organization has decided that products containing more than 4 mg of nicotine are medicines meant to be used for treatment of nicotine addiction. The products were not set for a ban on marketing. After a medicines sales permit is issued, it is possible to market these products in Estonia. The court decision can be disputed within 30 days.

Estonian Agriculture Minister Helir-Valdor Seeder introduced on Sept. 26 in Parliament a new rural life development plan, on the basis of which the European Union and the Estonian state will invest over 900 million euros in rural areas over the next seven years, reports Public Broadcasting. More than a half of that money will be spent on the environment and in guaranteeing competitiveness. “Today the investment ability, productivity and competitiveness of our producers is low, as compared to the European Union average, and the age structure of the sector is not sustainable,” Seeder said. He added that the increase in the world’s population and large share of ecological production in Estonian farming gives farmers a chance to increase the value of their production in the market in the future. Seeder said that the development plan is not yet complete, though the government will eventually have to approve it. The rural life development plan 2014-2020 focuses on five spheres: environment, competitiveness of farming, rural business and initiatives, food supply chain and implementing research.