Drug use on the rise in Iceland

According to recent statistics Icelanders are the biggest users of addictive painkillers, stimulants, sleeping pills, tranquilisers, sedatives and anticonvulsants in the Nordic countries’.

“There is real cause for concern,” Olafur B. Einarsson, Project Manager for Pharmaceuticals at the Iceland Directorate of Health told Morgunbladid´s reporter. “We are seeing much greater use of addictive drugs in Iceland than anywhere else in the Nordics,” he continues. “For instance, Icelanders are by far the biggest users of stimulants such as Ritalin and related drugs – we use proportionally 260% more than the Swedes, in second place.”

The new data has emerged from the Nordic Medico-Statistical Committee (NOMESKO). Iceland has however been the biggest consumers of painkillers (analgesics) in the Nordic countries since 2013.

A recent article by the Icelandic Medicines Agency indicates that the use of opioids – usually analgesics – has risen by 18% in Iceland over the last nine years, but fallen by 4% in Norway and 14% in Denmark.

“Opioid drugs are the most frequent cause of death in cases of suspected drug intoxication,” says Einarsson. Such deaths are on the rise in Iceland.