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U.S. Department of State
1997 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, March 1998

United States Department of State

Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

Europe and Central Asia


I. Summary

Denmark is a drug transit country primarily to Europe because of its strategic geographical location. Its excellent air traffic and shipping facilities make it northern Europe's primary transportation hub. The Danes not only cooperate closely with their Scandinavian neighbors and the EU to stop the transit of illicit drugs, but also play an important role in assisting the Baltic States to combat narcotics trafficking. While the quantities of drugs seized in Denmark are relatively small, Danish authorities suspect that a high volume of drugs transiting Denmark went undetected as a consequence of their open border agreements and high volume of international trade. Within Denmark, the availability of cocaine continued to increase in 1997 and Ecstasy pills remain popular among a growing number of young Danes.

II. Status of Country

Drug traffickers utilize Denmark's excellent transportation network to bring illicit drugs to Denmark for domestic use and for transshipment to other Nordic countries. There is also evidence that drugs from Russia, the Baltic countries, and Central Europe pass through Denmark en route to other EU states and the US, although the amount flowing to the US is relatively small.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997

Policy Initiatives. Denmark has complied with the requirements of all major international conventions and agreements regarding narcotics. Denmark continues to contribute toward the development of common counternarcotics standards within the international organizations of which it is a member. Denmark's interagency group responsible for monitoring the distribution of precursor chemicals reported no infractions in 1997. Denmark provided training, financing, and coordination assistance to the three Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) as it did last year, principally to improve interdiction efforts, and helped the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) set up a school in Denmark in August for this purpose.

Accomplishments. Danish police continue their counternarcotics efforts. Because of public outcry over the release of arrested drug dealers in 1996, many of whom were foreigners, Danish law was amended to make it easier to place drug dealers behind bars and to expel foreign dealers who illegally reside in Denmark. Danish authorities view narcotics-related money laundering as a manageable problem in spite of Denmark's role as a major financial center. Banking procedures are transparent and are subject to government review to minimize the likelihood of illegal use of the banking system.

Danish law permits forfeiture and seizure in drug-related criminal cases. Authorities strongly uphold existing asset seizure and forfeiture laws and cooperate with foreign authorities in such cases. Statistics on asset seizure are not available and, in any event, are not regarded as significant by the Danish government. Denmark promotes international cooperation on chemical precursors.

Law Enforcement Efforts. Danish officials have already seized higher quantities of cocaine and amphetamines in 1997 than in 1996, reflecting an increasingly effective narcotics control effort. In 1997, 51.4 kilograms of cocaine and 39.6 kilograms of amphetamines were seized. Increases in multigram seizures of cocaine can be attributed to closer cooperation between Danish law enforcement officials and their Nordic and German counterparts. The decrease in the quantity of heroin seized in Denmark so far in 1997 (7.7) kilograms results to a great extent from heroin seizures in other countries, which otherwise would have reached Denmark. Denmark helped improve interdiction capabilities in the Baltic states. There is a continuing project on the Island of Bornholm, Denmark's easternmost territory, whereby the Customs services and police, in tight cooperation with the Royal Danish Navy, seek to interdict narcotics, other smuggled contraband, and illegal migrants.

Corruption. The USG has no knowledge of any involvement by Danish government officials in drug production or sale, or in the laundering of their proceeds.

Agreements and Treaties. Denmark ratified the 1988 UN Drug Convention in 1991 and signed on to the enabling legislation for the (European Drug Unit) EDU in 1997. The USG has concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with the Government of Denmark. Denmark participated in the Dublin Group and EU meetings on related topics.

Drug Flow/Transit. Drugs transit Denmark between its neighbors and, in small quantities, to the US according to law enforcement sources in Denmark.

Demand Reduction. Denmark's Ministry of Health estimates that there are between 10,000 and 12,000 drug users in Denmark. The country has an extensive counternarcotics education programs in schools and youth centers. Drug addicts are treated in a large number of institutions throughout Denmark. In addition to in-patient care at hospitals, out-patient care is also available at hospitals, youth crisis centers, and special out-patient clinics. These programs are free of charge to Danish residents. The government continues to fund programs introduced in 1996 which involve the forced treatment of addicts--persons who agree to undergo treatment as an alternative to serving prison sentences in certain cases. These programs remain small in scope. The government has also attempted to declare certain prisons "free from drugs." There continues to be an on-going political debate surrounding a proposal, which is vehemently opposed by the police, that would permit doctors to supply some addicts with heroin. An inter-ministerial group is studying the feasibility and desirability of such a program which has the support of the political parties in the government, but on which the government has not acted.

The Road Ahead. In the coming year, the Danish authorities plan to increase their seizures of ecstasy pills within Denmark and to work closely with the Norwegians in interdicting heroin bound for Norway via Denmark. The Danes have also entered into a formal agreement with other Nordic countries called Politi Told Nordic (PTN) to share information and cooperate against narcotics trafficking. PTN has already placed a Danish police officer in Lithuania under this program. Domestic legislation to supply addicts with free clean needles is expected to be approved in 1998, and the controversial proposal to allow doctors to supply some addicts with heroin under Ministry of Health supervision is also likely to pass.


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