Norway: The Rushåndhevingsutvalgett’s investigation into punishment and treatment related to narcotics

The Norwegian Government appointed the committee called the Rushåndhevingsutvalgets on 11 May 2023 to investigate certain criminal law and criminal procedure issues linked to the government’s reform for prevention and treatment in the field of substance abuse. On 18 June, the investigation was presented.

Key points of the report from the Rusenhevingsutvalget:

  • A new penal provision is needed for the use or minor possession of narcotics.
  • The investigator says that there is no difference in the level of reaction from authorities.
  • People with addiction should be met with help, not punishment!
  • Adults who are not addicted should only be fined.
  • According to the investigator, it is too complex to define addiction to drugs.
  • The investigator believes that a maximum sentence of up to six months in prison is needed in the event of addiction.
  • It is therefore not a question of decriminalization.
  • From 2014 to 2022, reports against the use of narcotics have decreased sharply.
  • It is proposed that powers regarding body searches and inspection of, for example, mobile phones must be clarified.
  • Saliva samples should become the main method of proving use. Before urine and blood.
  • The police will work with prevention. Focus on children and young people.
  • It must be prevented that young people believe that drugs are decriminalised.
  • Failure to prosecute if a person attends a meeting for treatment purposes regarding their meeting. More than one meeting in three months.
  • People must agree to drug testing for non-prosecution.
  • Imprisonment as a maximum penalty should be removed for doping.

Live stream from the Norwegian Government

What is the purpose of the investigation?

The mandate of the Drug Enforcement Committee includes a comprehensive review of the Norwegian legal system’s handling of drug use. They will evaluate how laws can be reformed so that people with drug problems are offered health care instead of being punished. The inquiry will examine the definition of drug dependence, analyse the police’s powers in drug cases and assess the consequences of current criminal law practice. The aim is to develop concrete legislative proposals that promote health-oriented and humane management of drug problems, with a focus on legal certainty and effective treatment. They must also take international experience and research into account in their work.

Members of the Committee

Responsible Investigator

Hans-Petter Jahre

  • Retired law judge
  • Former Chief Justice of Borgarting Court of Appeal and has held several legal roles, including First Public Prosecutor and Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions.


Tonje Vang

  • Chief Judge of Borgarting Court of Appeal since 2011
  • Previous experience as a lawyer and judge.

Ørnulf Øyen

  • Professor at the University of Bergen since 2014
  • Previously worked in the Ministry of Justice’s law department and as an acting judge.


Jens Johannes Andenæs

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