In Bulgaria drug use itself is penalized as an administrative offense, the penalty depends on the substance. Minor cases of possession can be settled with a fine; otherwise, possession of any drug is punished by one to six years’ imprisonment for high-risk substances and by up to five years’ imprisonment in the case of moderate-risk substances[1]. According to the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics SPACE I there are 6988[2] inmates in Bulgarian prisons, 612 of them for drug-law offences. HIV prevalence in prison is 1,7%.[3] As for the drug use responses in prison there is no OST or NSP services, only ART is available. The average amount spent per day for the detention of one inmate in Bulgarian prisons is 72,3 Eur/per day[4], 26389,5 Eur/per year/per inmate.

The estimate number of people who inject drugs is around 10000[5]. HIV prevalence among PWID is 10,6%[6]. The costs[7] of NSP services was 50 Eur/per person/per year and OST – 700 Eur/per person/per year. Unemployment benefits amounts to minimum 9 BGN per day (25 eur), 3285 BGN per year (1680 Eur/per client/per year).[8] So, if the person would need OST, NSP and unemployment benefit, it would cost for the state around 2430 Eur/per person/per year. The health and social services costs are almost 11 times smaller than incarceration costs.


[2]  http://wp.unil.ch/space/files/2019/04/FinalReportSPACEI2018_190402.pdf
[3] https://www.aidsdatahub.org/sites/default/files/publication/UNAIDS_Data_2018.pdf
[4] http://wp.unil.ch/space/files/2019/04/FinalReportSPACEI2018_190402.pdf
[5] https://www.aidsdatahub.org/sites/default/files/publication/UNAIDS_Data_2018.pdf
[6] Ibid.
[7] The costs of OST and NSP services were provided by national partners and service providers
[8] https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1103&langId=en&intPageId=4441