Country profile




2.37 million

Capital city


Drug strategy

The past Drug Control and Drug Abuse Prevention Strategy for the five-year period 1999-2003 was not accepted by the Cabinet of Ministers and not a binding document. The new national Drug Control and Drug Abuse Prevention Program for the five years period 2004-2008 is under development.


A rapid increase of the number of synthetic drug users, especially of amphetamine users and other stimulants has been observed in Latvia.

Drug use among the general population

No general population drug survey has been carried out in Latvia, however a survey is planned to be carried out in 2003.

Drug use among young people

The 1999 ESPAD national school survey conducted among 16 years olds in Latvia revealed that students had one of the highest lifetime prevalence rates for (6%) ecstasy compared to other central and eastern European countries. The same survey also showed that the number of 16 year olds who have tried marijuana at least once in their life was three times higher than in 1995 (17% 1999 in comparison to 5% in 1995).


No national drug prevention strategy exists in Latvia. The majority of existing prevention programs are tailored for primary prevention, which is mainly understood as part of health education at school. Considered as the most successful prevention programme is the manual ‘School policy in the field of substance prevention’, which is accompanied by a training module to enable teachers to implement the approaches described in the manual.

Treatment demand and problem drug use

No estimates on the number of problem drug users ever carried out at the national level using EMCDDA-approved estimation techniques. According to the treatment demand data from the past years, the majority of clients seeking treatment for the first time were diagnosed with opioid dependence. However, in comparison to previous years, recent data showed that first time registered opioids abuse cases have decreased. The vast majority of patients (78.2%) seeking treatment for the first time are injecting basic drug (mainly opioids and amphetamines).

Treatment responses

Treatment of patients with alcohol and drug problmes is voluntary. All services both in-patient and outpatient treatment include detoxification. Outpatient services and rehabilitation services still need furhter development in order to meet the demand and the needs of clients.

Health consequences

A high prevalence rate of HIV among different subgroups of IDUs during the period of 1997-2001 was reported in Latvia. In comparison with the previous year, in 2002 the number of new HIV infection cases has decreased by 33%. Among patients receiving methadone treatment in Riga, 83% were infected with HCV and 38% with HBV in 1997.

Harm reduction responses

One programme in the capital (Riga) provides methadone substitution for opiate users. In Latvia needle and syringes exchange is provided through 11 syringe-exchange counselling points across the whole country. In addition, community-based outreach harm reduction programmes provide access to sterile injecting equipment.

Reports on drugs situation

National reports

Other documents

Disclaimer © European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2002
The texts, reports and publications in this section have been provided by the candidate countries’ national focal points. The findings, conclusions and interpretations in these documents are those of the authors alone and do not represent the policy of the EMCDDA, its partners, any EU Member State or any agency or institution of the European Union or European Communities.

English documents in English | National language documents in national language

Related websites

  1. English European Commission: Enlargement: Latvia – This page provides an introduction to Latvia’s country profile, an overview of of key documents related to enlargement, press releases and interesting links.

  2. National language Narcomania – Drug Prevention Centre of the Riga City Council

  3. National language Narkologijas centrs – State Centre for Drug Control and Drug Abuse Prevention

  4. National language AIDS profilakses centrs – AIDS Prevention Centre

  5. National language Rîgas Bçrnu tiesîbu aizsardzîbas centrs – Riga Children Rights Prevention Centre

  6. National language iCentrs – Educational Centre for Family and School (NGO)

  7. National language English Latvian Legislation in English – The TTC is the primary linguistic bridge for Latvia’s successful participation in the international community.

  8. National language Sabiedrîbas veselîbas aìentûra – State Health Agency

English documents in English | National language documents in national language | National language English bilingual websites

The country profiles were produced by the EMCDDA in collaboration with National Focal Points in the acceding and candidate countries and were primarily based on their 2002 National Reports on the drugs situation. Due to the existing incompleteness of the epidemiological data provided, the information given should not be used for comparison of the drug situation between countries. They constitute separate sources of basic information on the drug situation in each country. In addition, estimates for individual indicators (i.e. treatment demand indicator) presented in the profiles may not be representative of the population they refer to and should be interpreted with caution. Efforts will be undertaken to improve comparability, compatibility with EMCDDA standards and to update the profiles on a regular basis.