Drug harms in Italy 2017

Italy Country Drug Report 2017

Drug harms

Drug-related infectious diseases

In Italy, data on drug-related infections are available from samples of clients undergoing voluntary testing at public drug treatment services or in general hospitals, while data on acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases are notified through the AIDS Operational Centre (COA).

A total of 886 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among people who inject drugs (PWID) were notified between 2010 and 2014 and a decline in the annual number of notifications was reported. The number of newly diagnosed HIV-positive individuals among PWID is average when compared with other European countries. The prevalence rate of HIV infection among PWID is, nevertheless, considered high in the European context. Almost a third of the treatment clients in 2015 were HIV positive; however, it should be noted that the sample size was small.

The available data from voluntary testing of treatment clients indicates that hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the most prevalent drug-related infection among PWID.

Drug-related emergencies

Drug-related emergencies in Italy are monitored and reported only in the context of the national early warning system on NPS. In 2015, a total of 1 075 people required emergency treatment because of non-fatal intoxication that was possibly a result of the use of NPS. Toxicological analysis was performed in about 15 % of these cases, and the results indicated the presence of NPS in about two thirds of them, while an established illicit drug was detected in the remainder.

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 Italy

NB Year of data 2015.


Characteristics and trends of drug-induced deaths in Italy

NB Year of data 2015.

Drug-induced deaths and mortality

In 2015, the specialised register (Police Forces and Prefectures) reported a further decrease in the number of drug-induced deaths in Italy. Opioids (mainly heroin), alone or in combination with other psychoactive substances, were detected in the majority of victims in whom toxicological results were available. However, there are limitations in the available data and, in the case of more than half of the deaths reported in 2015, the principal drug was not specified. In Italy, the large majority of druginduced death victims are male.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) is 7.8 deaths per million, which is lower than the most recent European average of 20.3 deaths per million.

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

NB Year of data 2015, or latest available year.

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