Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

Armenia is not a major drug producing country, and domestic abuse of drugs is modest. Because Armenia is landlocked and the two longest of its four borders (with Turkey and Azerbaijan) are closed, the resulting limited transport options make the country less attractive for drug trafficking. With U.S. and European Union assistance, Armenia continues to develop and implement an integrated border management regime, improving its ability to detect illegal narcotics shipments. Drug addiction treatment resources have increased in recent years, and since 2009 prior use has been decriminalized for those who seek treatment.

The most common illicit drug in Armenia is marijuana, most of which is grown locally. Both cannabis and poppies grow in the wild, and the government sponsored eradication events in August and September.

Narcotic seizures increased overall in 2013, which police attribute to an increase in staff dedicated to counternarcotic efforts. According to local law enforcement, the overwhelming majority of illicit drug imports are opiates transiting Iran, with a recent increase in methamphetamine (also from Iran). Most drugs are smuggled in trucks driven across the Iranian border crossing at Meghri.

In addition to targeting Iranian-based trafficking networks, police arrested traffickers importing both cocaine and methadone from Russia, with cooperation from Russian law enforcement authorities. Precursor chemicals are strictly regulated, and legitimate commercial users must provide status reports on chemical supplies every three months to authorities.

Synthetic drugs are a growing challenge within Armenia. To combat the rising use of the cheap and easily fabricated (but disfiguring and deadly) synthetic drug known as “krokodil,” the sale of products containing more than 10 percent codeine were controlled beginning in mid-2012. Use of the synthetic cannabinoid known as “spice” is a growing concern. With an ever-changing formula (containing both herbs and the active ingredient lorazepam), “spice” has eluded a legal ban by remaining one step ahead of law enforcement authorities. Due to the skill of the chemists employed to create the smoked medium, police believe well-funded organized crime is responsible for its manufacture and distribution. Anti-depressant medications containing buprenorphine are also illegally smuggled into Armenia from France (where it is legal) via air couriers and mail.