Croatia Country Drug Report 2018

Drug harms

Drug-related infectious diseases

The number of new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection detected among people who inject drugs (PWID) is low in Croatia, with two new HIV infections among PWID notified over the last five years. In 2016, no cases of HIV infection were reported among PWID. The data from a 2014 bio-behavioural study indicate a low prevalence of HIV among this population in three Croatian cities (Split, Zagreb and Rijeka).

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are not monitored nationally in Croatia to the same extent as HIV, and the number of new cases of HBV and HCV infection among drug users is, therefore, unknown. The results from testing opioid users in treatment indicate a declining trend in HCV prevalence among this population over 2005-14, with some stabilisation in the last few years. The prevalence of HBV infection among opioid users in treatment declined over 2010-13 but increased slightly in 2014 and has remained unchanged since then. The 2014 bio-behavioural study found that more than one third of PWID in the three cities were HCV positive. The same study indicated that less than one fifth of PWID had been tested for HIV or for HCV in the last 12 months and received their test results.

Prevalence of HIV and HCV antibodies among people who inject drugs in Croatia (%)
region HCV HIV
Year of data: 2014
National : :
Sub-national 38.3 0.5

No information was reported on the prevalence of other infectious diseases, for example sexually transmitted diseases or tuberculosis, among drug users.

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Drug-induced deaths and mortality

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

In Croatia, drug-induced deaths increased until 2007, when the highest number of deaths to date was reported; since then, numbers have decreased and have stabilised in recent years. In 2016, the majority of the victims were male. The mean age of the victims was approximately 37 years. The majority of deaths for which toxicological reports were available were associated with opioids (mainly methadone, but also heroin, buprenorphine and tramadol). Toxicological reports indicate that the victims had commonly used opioids together with other psychoactive substances, including alcohol and prescription medicines.

Based on these data, the drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64) was 20.19 deaths per million in 2016, which is slightly below the most recent European average of 21.8 deaths per million.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.