Kratom | Latvia
Mitragyna speciosa (kratom) has been prohibited under the Regulation 847 regarding narcotic substances, psychotropic substances and precursors to be controlled in Latvia. It is named in the Schedule 2.4 as a plant product with psychotropic effect.
National drug strategy and laws
Latvia’s National Programme on Drug Control and Drug Addiction Restriction for 2011-17 is focused on illicit drugs. It sets out three main goals: to reduce the tolerance of illicit drug use in society; to reduce the harm caused to society through illicit drug use by making effective healthcare services available to drug users; and to reduce the availability of illicit drugs.
In Latvia, the unauthorised use, acquisition and storage of small amounts of illicit drugs are administrative offences punishable by a warning or a fine of up to EUR 280. The possession of larger amounts of drugs for personal use can lead to a criminal penalty of up to 3 years in prison.
The court is able to impose treatment with a suspended sentence, or to release a drug user from criminal or administrative liability if the user has agreed to undergo treatment; however, no underlying control mechanism has been established for this.
Since 2013, new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been controlled individually or in generic groups, and supply-related activities can be temporarily controlled for a period of up to 12 months. Such activities were initially punishable with a fine, but since 2014 have been criminal offences, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, or 5 years if such actions cause substantial harm. In addition, in 2014 the personal possession of NPS became an administrative offence, punishable with a fine of up to EUR 280, and the possibility of a criminal charge if the offence is repeated within 1 year.
NATIONAL TREATMENT POLICY
The development of new treatment options and increasing the quality of, and expanding the provision of, existing treatment services are among the priorities of the current national drug strategy. The national coordination body for drug treatment in Latvia is the Riga Centre of Psychiatry and Dependencies, which is responsible for the delivery, accreditation, monitoring and evaluation of drug treatment.
Drug treatment is mainly delivered by institutions that operate under the supervision of the Ministry of Health and are funded by the state budget of the National Health Service. Long-term social rehabilitation is also provided through funds from the Ministry of Welfare. Drug treatment may also be delivered by private profit-making organisations, and is regulated by the Medical Treatment Law.
OST with methadone has been available since 1996, and treatment with buprenorphine was introduced in 2005. In recent years, the availability of OST has expanded beyond the capital city, and it can be prescribed at any inpatient clinic provided that it has a Council of Physicians including at least two narcologists. Methadone is provided free of charge by the state, while buprenorphine is available at the patient’s expense.
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