Drug harms in Austria 2017

Austria Country Drug Report 2017

Drug harms

Drug-related infectious diseases

In Austria, the prevalence of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs (PWID) is estimated on the basis of samples from treatment facilities and low-threshold centres. Information on the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) is gathered from drug-related death autopsy reports, and from the Austrian HIV cohort study.

Available data indicate that HCV infection is the most prevalent drug-related infectious disease in Austria, while HIV infection remains at low levels, and prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has remained stable for several years. However, the reported prevalence rates of drug-related infectious diseases vary depending on the source. Approximately one in four victims of drug-related deaths had positive HCV test results, while the prevalence rates among those tested in low-threshold facilities across the country are higher.

The data from the Austrian HIV cohort indicate that the number of newly registered HIV-positive individuals among PWID has decreased in recent years.

Newly diagnosed HIV cases attributed to injecting drug use

NBYear of data 2015, or latest available year. Source: ECDC.

Prevalence of HIV and HCV antibodies among people who inject drugs in Austria

NBYear of data 2015.


Characteristics of and trends in drug-induced deaths in Austria

NBYear of data 2015.

Drug-induced deaths and mortality


Drug-induced deaths refer to deaths that can be attributed directly to the use of illicit drugs (i.e. poisonings and overdoses).

In 2015, the special registry at the Austrian national focal point reported an increase in the number of drug-induced deaths compared with 2013-14, while the number continued to be below that reported for the period 2005- 08. According to the toxicological results, the presence of opioids was registered in the majority of deaths. However, similarly to previous years, almost 9 out of 10 cases were attributed to polydrug use. In 2015, several deaths were associated with the use of very potent MDMA pills, which are increasingly available. With regard to gender, in three in four of the registered deaths, the victim was male and the average age at death was 32.9 years.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) was 26.4 deaths per million in 2015, which is higher than the most recent European average of 20.3 deaths per million.

Drug-induced mortality rates among adults (15-64 years)

NBYear of data 2015, or latest available year.

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