Germany Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-induced deaths

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

In Germany, there are two general, comprehensive systems for recording drug-related deaths: police data from the ‘Drugs data file’ and the ‘Statistical report on the causes of death’ from the German Federal Statistical Office.

Data from the Police Register of the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation indicated a decrease in the number of drug-induced deaths in 2017, reversing the increase observed in recent years. Opioids, alone or in combination with other substances, remained the most common cause of drug-induced deaths, followed by amphetamines and cocaine or crack cocaine. Data from the General Mortality Register, available up to 2015, indicate an increase in the number of drug-induced deaths between 2012 and 2015.

The Statistical Report on Substance Abuse Treatment in Germany indicated that around 2.3 % of clients receiving outpatient addiction counselling as a result of opioid use died in 2016.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) was 21 deaths per million in Germany in 2016, compared with the most recent European average of 22 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.