A bill to amend the Penal Code was passed. The amendments in the Penal Code refer to all corpora delicti related to drugs and they have been completely revised. With these changes the Bulgarian Penal Code is in conformity with the regulations of the Framework Decision of the Council of the EC 20041757/PVR of fixing the minimal regulations referring to the elements of crime and the sanctions imposed in the sphere of drug trafficking.
In May 2006 a Bill to amend the Drugs and Precursors Control Act was prepared. Passing this bill is necessitated by the need to provide conditions for the direct implementation of the regulations of the European Union, regulating the control of the activities with precursors and drugs - Regulation N9 273/2004/EC on drug precursors, Regulation Ng 111/2005/EC on the rules to monitor the trade with drug precursors between the Community and third parties and Regulation N2 1277/2005/EC on the rules of implementing Regulation N2 273/2004/EC and Regulation N2 111/2005/EC. The three regulations settle completely the matters related to precursors, and contain detailed regulations referring to the control measures on the activities with precursors, the requirements for import and export and the obligations of the operators. After the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union the regulations have a direct effect, but their implementation has to be provided by the national legislation.
By a Resolution N2 30 of the Council of Ministers an Updated Action Plan for the period 2006-2008 for implementing the National Antidrug Strategy 2003-2008 was adopted. The updated Action Plan has been prepared in compliance with a Report Decision of the Council of Ministers from 20th October 2005 referring to a List of Measures under Chapter 24 "Justice and Internal Affairs" — section "Combating Drugs", Volume 13 /section 30/.
For the year 2006 the employees of Criminal Police in the Ministry of Interior checked on the territory of the country a total of 1 091 signals about the production and dealing with drugs and precursors (for 2005 — 1 138). The persons dealing with drugs numbered 1 020 and 438 of them deal with cannabis, 346 with heroin, 39 with cocaine and 197 are synthetic drug dealers. The persons both drug users and drug dealers numbered 941 (444 of them being under aged).
The data from the inquisitorial procedures at the National and Regional Departments of Investigation for drugs smuggling and trafficking show that in 2006 the number of preliminary proceedings investigated was 947. 875 of them were completed for trial.
In 2006 the public prosecutors monitored, guided and supervised a total of 4 767 pretrial proceedings for crimes under Art. 354a, 354b, and 354c of the PC and for customs smuggling under Art. 242, Par.2,3,4 and 9 from the PC - 153 pretrial proceedings. The newly instituted in 2006 pretrial proceedings for crimes under Art. 354a, 354b and 354c numbered 3 214, and 1 553 proceedings had remained from the preceding period.
On the information provided by the Ministry of Justice at all the courts in the country the proceedings are instituted and the defendants are sentenced under the respective texts of the Penal Code - Art.242 and from Art.354a to Art.354c. The information on the activity of the courts of first instance in the country shows that in 2006 at the district, regional and martial courts there were a total of 2 866 cases for hearing which were related to drugs. Of them 1 213 cases were closed by pronouncing a sentence, and the total number of the persons convicted was 1 971. The penalty most often imposed was imprisonment for up to 3 years.
The estimate that 5.2 % of the adult population aged 18 - 60 in the country have used some drug at least once in their lifetimes remains. At least 315 000-330 000 Bulgarian citizens aged 15 to 60 years have at least once in their lifetimes used some drug. The young people aged 15 to 34 represent around 88-90 % of all the people in the age group 15-60 who at least once in their lifetimes have used some drug.
Issuing from data from survey 35.2 % (or around 75,000) of the university students in the country have at least once in their lifetimes used some drug. Besides 9.2 % (or nearly 20,000) of the students have used some drug in the last 30 days before the poll. Cannabis (and especially marijuana) is the most widely used illicit drug.
Comparing data from an International Study (within ECAD Project) among school students 15-16 years old from 9 cities in Europe, the students from Sofia come first according to the indicator "getting drunk at least once for the last 30 days" (33.8% out of them confirm it).
A summarized profile of the people who have at least once used drugs in their life can be represented in the following way: They are more often men than women; almost all of them young., more often well-off: more often living in big cities than in small towns and in villages.
The frame of the approaches reviewed for the prevention of drug use contains three categories: universal, selective and indicative prevention. Each specific category represents specific target population in respect to the risk of starting drug use, and from this point of view, the level of intensity of the interventional practices.
A brief review of the existing data shows that the available data and the long-term observations show that in Bulgaria the heroin is the substance that is the most strongly connected with the problem drug use (over 90 % of the persons who searched for treatment in the specialized units have indicated it as the primary substance).
Based on the available data a general estimation could be made that the number of the problem heroin users in the last few years remains relatively constant and stable, even with slight iiidications for onset of decrease. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the problem drug users as a whole as long as in the same time indications for increasing the number of the problem amphetamine and "ecstasy" type substances users can be observed.
The bigger part of the problem heroin users injecting their drugs. Indications of gradual decrease of used needles and syringes sharing among drug users continue to be observed; this is a good prerequisite for the reduction of health harms due to drug use.
In 2006 the monitoring system of treatment demand covered 1766 persons, starting therapy in 5 inpatient and 12 outpatient units and centers in 6 of the most significant Bulgarian cities (regarding treatment possibilities). More than 1/4 of the country's population is concentrated there and approximately 4/5 of the residential patients in Bulgaria are there.
Some of the outlined trends in the treatment demands are: the heroin remains the primary problem drug, for which a treatment is searched for, the injecting continues to be the most prevalent pattern of drug use among the persons demanding treatment, the treatment demand for the first time ever increased for cannabis and amphetamine users.
According to the data from the National Service "Police" at the Ministry of Interior in 2006 the divisions of the national police have registered in the country a total number of 3 792 drug users (only users + users and dealers). Nearly Y4 of the registered persons (1 543 persons or 40,7 %) were minors or under-aged, which seriously directs the attention towards the question of the drug use among teenagers in Bulgaria.
On the data of the National Health Statistics for 2006 at the specialized inpatient healthcare establishments in the country 1971 patients diagnosed as suffering from psychic and behavioral disorders caused by the use of other psychoactive substances have been treated. For the period 1990-2006 when observations were made this is the greatest number of patients hospitalized. The trend of increasing the number of hospitalized patients still holds. The greatest number of patients hospitalized was registered at the Regional Dispensaries of Psychiatric Diseases with clinics - 879, followed by the psychiatric clinics and the state psychiatric hospitals. tinder dispensary observation are the following groups of patients: diagnosed as suffering from "Psychic and behavioral disorders caused by the use of other psychoactive substances" — 916.
The total number of beds in the health establishments for psychiatric treatment is 5 439 and 201 out of them are set for patients with addictions. In the process of the program implementation 7 programs for substitution and maintenance treatment with methadone were started — 5 in Sofia, 1 in the town of Varna and 1 in the town of Plovdiv, with a total number of patients included — 1555.
In 2006 the drug-related deaths number 29 cases. The number of men is 26 and it is significantly greater than the number of women - 3 cases. After the increase of the indicator intensity of deaths for the previous year, in 2006 its overall value for the country was 0.38 per 100 000 persons of the population. The indicator is significantly higher for men (0.70 per 100 000 men) compared to the one for women (0.08 per 100 000 women). More than 80% of all the drug related deaths are men and women aged 20 to 34 years. The mean age of the deceased persons continues to rise and from a mean age of 27.8 in 2004 it rose to 28.8 in 2006.
On the data from a cohort study in Sofia the difference in mortality rates between the outpatients who were treated at home and the inpatients admitted for hospital treatment is impressive (132.89 and 103.09 per 1000 respectively) and on the other hand, there is a difference in mortality rates between these two groups of patients and the group included in methadone programme (35.14 per 1000). The mean age of the patients who have got in the sample is 22.45 years. For comparison, the mortality rate for the same age among the general population is 0.5 — 2.0 per 1000 (for the patients from the sample the respective figure is 92.81 per 1000).
The level of the HIV infection is low, compared to the prevalence in other countries from the region, but for the last 2 years it has marked a trend of rising for the injecting drug users.
The level of hepatitis B infection remains at about 5 % (6.10 %), and this value has remained constant for the fast 10 years; it is comparable to the general hepatitis B morbidity in the country.
The level of infection with the hepatitis C virus for all the IDUs tested at the NCA is 53.63 %. It can be noted that there is a trend for the level of infection to remain constant, which may be due to the better work of the needle and syringe exchange programs.
The number of persons among the IDUs co-infected with 2 and more infections is growing.
Study showed that or 2.1 °/0 out of the PDUs were homeless (had not a home for permanent residence). In two of the big cities (Sofia and Varna) the respective number of the homeless people in the samples was undoubtedly the largest (respectively around 37 % and around 42 %). Besides some specific ways of life in the groups of the population studied, this was probably due to the greater number of homeless people among the general population in the big cities
On the data of the National System for monitoring drug related treatment demand 43,4 % of all those who began treatment because of drug use in Bulgaria for 2006 were unemployed (in the preceding year - 42,4 °/0).
On the data of the Chief Directorate „Penalties Enforcement" at the Ministry of Justice in 2006 at prisons and at prison hostels there were 2 013 persons imprisoned who were addicted to drugs. For 2006 the prisoners awaiting trial numbered 819 addicted persons in detention. Of them the men numbered 771 and the women numbered 48. Over 50 % of the persons in detention were over 25 years of age.
As a result of the activities of the offices and the agencies in the structure of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance in 2006 on the territory of the country a total of 4 234 545 kg, 110 102 tablets, 73.47 liters, 200 ampoules and 112 doses of drugs and their precursors were seized.