According to the Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics for 2018[1], Croatia is below European median when we speak about the prison populations among Europe countries. There are 77,70 inmates per 100,000 inhabitants (while European median is 102,5). In January 2018, there was approximately 3 190 inmates in Croatia prisons[2]. Approximately 6% of the prisoner’s population serve their sentence for the drug law offences (202 prisoners in 2017)[3]. The average imprisonment term imposed by the courts for the drug law offences is up to 5 years. Illegal production and processing of drugs with no intention to sell is punishable by six months to five years in prison. Illegal production, processing, possession, import and export with intention to sell are punishable by 1-12 years in prison[4]. HIV prevalence in Croatia prisons is 0,15%[5]. Speaking about drug use responses in prison, it should be mentioned, that OST exists. In 2016, almost one fifth of sentenced prisoners had been diagnosed with a drug dependency, with opioid and polydrug use being the most common issues. Opioid substitution treatment using both methadone and buprenorphine is available in all facilities for detoxification and maintenance[6]. ART is available[7], NSP doesn’t exist in prison settings. According to the SPACE I 2018 survey, the average amount spent per day for the detention of one inmate in Croatia prisons is 53,30 Eur/per day, which is 19 454,50 Eur./ per year/ per inmate.

In 2015, a mortality multiplier study estimated that the total population of high-risk opioid users in Croatia was approximately 8 874 (7 200 – 11 547)[8]. Prevalence of HIV among PWID- 0,5%[9]. The costs of NSP services are approximately 75 Eur. / per person/ per year (including tools, salaries, etc.). This sum can range between 50 Eur. and 100 Eur. depending on what kind of services the organization is providing. OST price is approximately 809,00 Eur./ per person/ per year.[10] The minimum unemployment benefit is 100 Eur./ per person/ per month (which is 1 200,00 Eur/ per person/ per year). Maximum sum depends on average salary person got, when he/she worked.

So, if the person would need OST, NSP and unemployment benefit, it would cost for the state around 2 084,00 Eur./ per person/ per year.

The health and social services costs are more than 9 times less than incarceration costs.


[1] Prisons and Prisoners in Europe 2018: Key Findings of the SPACE I report Marcelo F. Aebi and Mélanie M. Tiago
[2] Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE 2018
[3] Council of Europe Annual Penal Statistics – SPACE 2018
[10] The information is estimated and provided by the national partners in Croatia (service providers organization)