Norway’s FHI: The number of opioid-dependent patients has increased by 65% in ten years

Photo: NTB

The number of patients diagnosed with opioids in Norway increased by 65% from 2010 to 2020. In total, the number of patients in treatment for drug problems increased by 22%.

A total of 18,203 patients were in treatment with an addiction diagnosis for drug problems in 2020, according to figures from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI).

In 2010, 5,412 were treated for opioid use, while the number had increased to 8,954 ten years later. This is the largest patient group, followed by cannabis patients.

From 2010 to 2018, the number of patients with cannabis diagnoses increased by 44%, but from 2018 to 2020, there has been a decrease of 14% to 3,189 patients.

The youngest used cannabis

Among those who came for treatment for the first time in 2020, cannabis diagnosis was most common (33%). These were also by far the youngest among new patients in treatment. More than half were under the age of 25, and 72% were under the age of 30.

Among new patients with an opioid diagnosis, 62% were over 40 years old. Only 7% of those in treatment for opioid use were in their 20s. The largest proportion of those who were 60 years or older were in treatment for the use of sedatives, with 18%.

Mostly men

70% of the patients in treatment for substance abuse problems in 2020 were men, and they were the majority for all main diagnoses, according to the FHI.

The greatest predominance was in treatment for cocaine problems, where 87% of the patients were men. The share has been stable in the period 2010 to 2020.

Women accounted for 20% of the new cannabis patients in 2020 and 42% of the new patients with opioids as the main diagnosis.

Those who use a lot of drugs

The FHI has also made calculations of how many people in Norway use a lot of drugs. In 2019, the number of injecting drug users was estimated at around 8,500 people. However, there is an uncertainty range from 7,100 to 10,000 people.

High-risk use of cannabis is estimated to cover 0.4% of the population in the age group 16–64 years. This corresponds to 13,800 people, with an uncertainty range from 8,000 to 19,500, in 2020.

The calculation is based on surveys, and the estimate may be too low if people with a risky use of cannabis are less likely than others to participate in surveys, the FHI pointed out.

People who state that they have used cannabis for more than 20 days in the last 30 days before the survey are defined as high-risk users.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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