Lithuania

Key facts

  • The first harm reduction projects were initiated in Lithuania in 1995: OST programs were started in Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipeda in response to an appeal by mothers of people who use drugs and drug treatment professionals; and a methadone maintenance treatment program is introduced by order of the Ministry of Health on 15 May the same year.
  • Lithuania has the highest levels of methamphetamine residue detected in wastewater in the whole of the European Union (with the country’s capital Vilnius).[1]
  • In January 2017, Lithuania criminalised possession of small quantities of illicit drugs. Prior to this, possession of small quantities had been an administrative offence, rather than a criminal sanction.[2] This caused hundreds of people to be imprisoned. Over €25 million was spent by the state on imprisoning people for drug possession.[3]
  • In 2018, the drug-induced mortality rate among adults between the ages of 15- 64 was more than double the European average.[4]

Please let us know about any errors or updated information in your country by email info@harmreductioneurasia.org, subject “Country profiles”

Population2,794,184 [5]
PWID6753 (4 854–8 652) [6]
OSTAvailable, but can be prescribed via specialist centers and psychiatrists only, and the person must have health insurance.[7]
NSPAvailable in 14 operational NSP sites.[8]
HIV

Prevalence among PWID – 4,7%.[9]

The proportion of new HIV infections linked to injecting drug use in Lithuania declined from more than 60% in 2010 to less than 30% in 2015, but increased to around 40% in 2016. Rapid HIV testing for people who use drugs now occurs in medical centers, whereas previously NGOs employed an outreach nurse to carry out testing.[10]

Hepatitis CPrevalence among PWID – 41%.[11]
Hepatitis BPrevalence among PWID – 10,5%.[12]
Tuberculosis
Overdose preventionNaloxone is not accessible in the pharmacies at all, or without prescription, but ambulances/hospitals have it; it is also possible to get it in harm reduction services. A small-scale pilot naloxone initiative began in late 2016, but naloxone is given to people only upon completion of a detoxification programme.[13]
HR in closed settings

· OST is available only as a continuation of medication.
· ART is available in prisons. [14]
· NSP is not available in prisons.

Criminalization costs [15]

 

 

· Money spent on a prisoner/per year – €8,508.15

· Money spent on health and social services – €2,703.37

· Average sentence for drug law offence – 7 years, 9 months and 6 days (imposed by the courts) / 3 years, 0 months and 29 days (actual average imprisonment term)

Drug laws

· Procurement and possession of a small amount of an illicit drug with no intent to distribute is a criminal offence (misdemeanor) punishable by community service or restriction of liberty or an arrest (non-prison incarceration). The same action involving more than the defined small amount is a criminal offence punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment.[16]

· Available alternatives: Person who voluntarily refers to health care institution for his/her healthcare services provision due to the consumption of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances without a doctor’s prescription is exempted from administrative liability.

[1] EMCDDA (2018) Lithuania Drug Report 2018. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/lithuania_en
[2] Kurcevic E (2017) Lithuania: Where one Shared Joint may cost you Liberty. Eurasian Harm Reduction Association. Available from: https://harmreductioneurasia.org/lithuania-where-one-shared-joint-may-cost-youliberty-2/
[3] EHRA (2018) Criminalization Costs. Eurasian Harm Reduction Association. Available from: https://harmreductioneurasia.org/criminalization-costs/
[4] EMCDDA (2018) Lithuania Drug Report 2018. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/lithuania_en
[5] Eurostat (2018). Available from: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&language=en&pcode=tps00001&plugin=1
[6] Thanki, D., Mravčík, V., Běláčková, V., Mačiulytė, D., Zábranský, T., Širvinskienė, A., Subata, E., Lorenzo-Ortega, R. (2018 m.). A multi-method estimation of high-risk drug use prevalence and coverage of needle and syringe programs and opioid substitution treatment in Lithuania in 2015-2016
[7] EMCDDA (2018) Lithuania Drug Report 2018. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/lithuania_en
[8] Harm Reduction International. Global State of Harm Reduction 2018.Available from: https://www.hri.global/files/2018/12/10/Eurasia-harm-reduction.pdf
[9] EMCDDA (2018) Lithuania Drug Report 2018. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/lithuania_en
[10] EMCDDA (2018) Lithuania Drug Report 2018. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/lithuania_en
[11] EMCDDA (2018) Lithuania Drug Report 2018. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/lithuania_en
[12] EMCDDA (2018) Lithuania Drug Report 2018. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/lithuania_en
[13] EMCDDA (2018) Lithuania Drug Report 2018. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/lithuania_en
[14] Order on the diagnostic and treatment of human immunodeficient virus, compensated from budgetary funds of the compulsory health fund. Available from: https://e-seimas.lrs.lt/portal/legalAct/lt/TAD/TAIS.371839/vigPmslDSD
[15] EHRA (2018) Criminalization Costs. Eurasian Harm Reduction Association. Available from: https://harmreductioneurasia.org/criminalization-costs/
[16] EMCDDA (2018) Lithuania Drug Report 2018. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Available from: http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/countries/drug-reports/2018/lithuania_en