There is a concern about methamphetamine use in Europe. Methamphetamine fatalities have recently occurred in Southern European countries. The aim of this study is to examine Norwegian methamphetamine trends in recent years, comparing different data sources.
Data about amphetamines were collected from five different sources; blood samples from drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs and apprehended by the police (during the years 2000-2012), urine samples from inmates in Norwegian prisons (during 2000-2012), post-mortem blood samples from medico-legal autopsies (2000-2012), drug seizures (1994-2012) and wastewater samples from a metropolitan/suburban population (2010-2012).
The number of cases where methamphetamine was detected has increased during the period studied for the driving under the influence cases, the samples from inmates and from forensic autopsies. The increase seems to be linear up to 2009-2010, with a subsequent stabilisation or even a decline in the market share of methamphetamine for the next few years. The number of methamphetamine seizures has risen from less than 1% in 2000 to approximately 66% in 2009, and a steady share around 60% have been seen between 2010 and 2012. Wastewater samples showed that the share of methamphetamine peaked in 2010-11, before falling.
It is difficult to obtain reliable data on illicit drugs. Data from different populations might give indications of changes and trends, but are always prone to different biases. By comparing results from different data sources, a better knowledge of the illicit drug market might be obtained. All our data sources confirmed that methamphetamine became a more prevalent drug during the first decade of the new millennium in Norway, but since approximately 2009 the share of methamphetamine stabilised.