Drug Abuse Not A Great Problem In Iceland

Words by Ingibjörg Rósa Björnsdóttir
Drug abuse is not a substantial problem in Icelandic society despite one fourth of Icelanders having experimented with drugs and about 10,000 people using cannabis on regular basis.

A survey looking into how many people aged 18-74 have tried using drugs shows that the majority of those who have, only tried drugs once, a few times or for a short period of time and then grew out of it, RÚV reports.

The survey, conducted by criminologist Helgi Gunnlaugsson, reveals that 10,000 people use cannabis regularly. The drug use mostly occurs amongst younger people and becomes less frequent the older people get.

“There are a few hundred such addicts in Iceland and that’s a very profound problem, a sociological problem,” Helgi told RÚV.

Most of those addicts never finished elementary education and have less job experience than their peers.

Many injection drug addicts have health problems and have attempted suicide.
“The drug abuse perhaps maintains these problems but if you take a closer look at the data, those social problems were already present when these individuals begun using drugs,” Helgi said.

He added that in Iceland, drug abuse is seen as a serious threat to society. “This opposition has in many ways kept the problem at bay but despite everything, real drug abuse is quite uncommon.”

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