The use of opioids in Iceland is rapidly becoming an epidemic, reports Vísir. This year, up to 250 people have been treated for opioid addiction.
Large quantities of opioids are bought and sold on the black market. A few days ago, Vísir reported about a case where three people were arrested due to smuggling. They were accused of smuggling over 6,000 opioid tablets and methamphetamine into the country.
According to the chief physician at the National Center of Addiction Medicine, Valgerður Rúnarsdóttir, the usage of opioids has rarely been as big as it is now. She says that there’s opioid epidemics in the countries around us as well, for example in the United States, where a substantial number of deaths can be linked to opioids.
“The usage of opioid users has been growing steadily since 2010,” Valgerður says. This year, 250 people have sought help from the National Center of Addiction Medicine. The most common way to use opioids is by taking prescription drugs for severe pain, such as Contalgin and Oxycontin.
Valgerður says that the opioid consumption has increased significantly during the pandemic, whereas the use of cocaine and amphetamines have decreased. A plausible reason for the decrease in stimulant drug use is the pandemic restrictions.
Valgerður is worried of the situation with opioid usage. “This is a serious addiction and it’s growing here in Iceland. It is extremely important to take care of this well.”
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