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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

Norway has continued to see an increase in drug activity, coupled with an increase in the amounts of drugs seized. Prices of drugs continue to fall and consumption of designer drugs has risen. There is little drug production, if any, in Norway. While precursor drugs can be procured, legislation to address this problem has been addressed in 1997. Norway is increasingly becoming a transit country for drugs from Central Europe en route to other Nordic and western European markets. Norway is a pro-active participant in international counternarcotics efforts and is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

Norway made fewer drug-related arrests in 1996, but seized a greater quantity of drugs. This is in keeping with a trend started in the early 1990's when drug seizures increased sharply. The Oslo police department, responsible for tracking drug statistics, estimate that there has been an across-the-board increase of 6 percent in drug trafficking.

The largest seizures have been in marijuana and related products, but heroin seizures are up 50 percent compared to 1996. "Kripos," (the National Bureau of Crime Investigation) authorities say these numbers are high compared with the other Nordic countries. The largest seizures of drugs are made at Norwegian borders, accounting for 90 percent of drugs confiscated. Generally, the largest seizures are made in Oslo, and the border areas near Sweden.

The greatest increase in drug usage is among the 14-20 age group, where hashish, cocaine and designer drugs, such as ecstasy, amphetamines and LSD, have become the drugs of choice. Drugs and drug dealing are found in schools and used at house parties.

Corruption. Official corruption, punishable under Norwegian law, is rare.

Drug Flow/Transit. Norway has seen a rise in the amount of drugs transiting its borders, although Norwegian police authorities estimate they recover only 5-10 percent of the drugs passing through Norway. Heroin shipped west from Turkey over the Balkan Route reaches Norway via central European countries. Kosovar Albanians and Turks, authorities believe, account for 90 percent of the drug dealers (principally heroin). They are members of griminal gangs, and contribute to organized crime. Norway does not play a significant role in drug production, money laundering or as a source of precursor chemicals.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 1997

Law Enforcement Efforts. Norwegian law enforcement officials have concentrated their efforts on preventing the flow of illegal drugs into Norway. This is accomplished with stringent border controls and increasing cooperation with other European and western nations. Law enforcement officials are utilizing better intelligence-collecting methods to assist them with their efforts. Law enforcement officials seek greater funding and legislation to broaden police powers in dealing with narcotics.

Agreements and Treaties. Norway is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention since 1994, and is in full compliance with its objectives. Norway is also a party to the 1961 UN Single Convention and its 1972 Protocol, as well as the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Norway is a party to the WCO's International Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance for the Prevention, Investigation, and Repression of Customs Offences "Nairobi Convention" Annex X on Assistance in Narcotics Cases. The USG has concluded a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA) with the Government of Norway. Norway also has bilateral Customs Agreements with the Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Russia. While not a member of the EU, Norway does have a Customs Agreement with the EU through Protocol 11 of the European Economic Area Agreement. Norwegian customs liaison officers are posted in London, Madrid, Islamabad, and Karachi.

Demand Reduction. Norway's response to combating drugs is focused on treatment of users. It is generally agreed, however, that more attention needs to be focused on prevention and education among students and the populace at large.

IV. US Policy Initiatives and Programs

Bilateral Cooperation. The USG currently has no counternarcotics assistance programs in Norway. DEA and other law enforcement agencies regularly consult with their Norwegian counterparts.

Multilateral Cooperation. Norway is a member of the Dublin Group and the Pompidou Group, which it has chaired since 1991, as well as ICPC Interpol, The Customs Initiative (PTN) and the Nordic Coordinating Council on Drug Abuse. It is also part of a joint effort (along with Sweden, Finland, and Denmark) to train Baltic police officers in narcotics work.

The Road Ahead. In 1997, Norway contributed $1.28 million in counternarcotics support to drug-producing and transit countries through the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP). The expectation for 1998 is that the amount will be increased. Part of the money Norway gives to the UNDCP has been used for programs in southeast Asia. Laos and Afghanistan have received significant contributions for alternative development programs. Norway terminated its program in Vietnam in 1996, and currently funds no others. Norway plans to begin assistance programs to train law enforcement officials in drug traffic control in the Baltic states.


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