Drug-induced deaths are deaths directly attributable to the use of illicit drugs (i.e. poisonings and overdoses).
In Denmark, drug-induced deaths are recorded in the Cause of Deaths Register of the Sundhedsdatastyrelsen and the National Police Register. The number of drug-induced deaths recorded in the Cause of Deaths Register in 2015 was the lowest in the last decade, and this was followed by a rebound in 2016. Toxicological results show that opioids were the principal drug involved in drug-induced deaths.
In Denmark, drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) was estimated at 55 deaths per million in 2016. Comparisons between countries should be undertaken with caution. The reasons for this include different reporting systems, case definitions and registration processes, as well as under-reporting in some countries.
The National Police Register constitutes the second source and collates information on all reported deaths for the purpose of post-mortem examination. In 2017, 254 drug-related deaths were recorded, slightly fewer than in 2016. The average age at death has increased over time, but it seemed to stabilise in 2017. The majority of drug-induced deaths reported through the National Police Register involved more than one psychoactive substance, suggesting that polydrug use is a common cause of death by poisoning in Denmark. The presence of opioids (primarily methadone, but also heroin and morphine) was detected in four out of five cases. Other drugs involved include cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy.