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Lower Supply of Drugs in Iceland

By Iceland Review

Thórarinn Tyrfingsson, head physician at Vogur, a treatment center operated by SÁÁ – the National Center of Addiction Medicine, states that there is a much lower supply of illegal narcotics in Iceland since the banking collapse in October 2008.

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Icelandic Police Officers. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

Also, the drugs that are on the market are not as strong as they used to be, Tyrfingsson told Fréttabladid. “The cannabis and hashish are not as strong as they used to be. The most obvious explanation is that our customs and police operations are delivering good results.”

“The distance to foreign markets has also grown because of currency restrictions and other such aspects,” Tyrfingsson added. “This development cannot be seen elsewhere. In the US the average concentration of cannabis has increased in the past decade. This is first and foremost the achievement of the Icelandic police.”

Jakob Kristinsson, professor at the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Iceland, confirms that the concentration of samples of hashish tested this year was lower than in 2009.

“It is absolutely clear that the hashish on the streets is not as strong as it used to be,” Kristinsson said, adding that it is more difficult to comment on the concentration of homegrown cannabis. However, the concentration of harder drugs varies between years, he pointed out.

Karl Steinar Valsson, senior officer at the Capital Region Police’s drug department, said emphasis has been placed on action against import, sale and distribution of narcotics.

“We have mapped it and took action against gangs. There is no doubt, for example when looking at court cases, that many of them have been disbanded. However, there are still gangs in operation and we will continue to try to stop those who make their living by this organized crime,” Valsson commented.

Fréttabladid reported last week that the smuggling of the chemical methedrone, which until now has been largely unknown in Iceland, had been attempted.

“People have played this game for a long time,” said Tyrfingsson. “Ecstasy was originally marketed because it wasn’t formally banned in a number of places. It appears to me that it is one of the drugs which people try to smuggle between countries in the hope that it isn’t registered as an illegal narcotic.”

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