Drug-induced deaths are deaths that can be attributed directly to the use of illicit drugs (i.e. poisonings and overdoses).
In 2017, the special register (Police Forces and Prefectures) reported an increase of 10 % in the number of drug-induced deaths in Italy. The substances involved in the deaths were not indicated in one quarter of deaths. For the remaining cases, where toxicological results were available, opioids, alone or in combination with other psychoactive substances were detected in the majority of deaths. Opioid deaths mainly involved heroin, although there were some reports of methadone. In 2017, the first death in Italy attributed to the use of fentanyl (U-47700) was reported. Cocaine was detected in a significant minority of deaths. A large majority of drug-induced death victims were male, with a mean age of 39 years.
The General Mortality Register (GMR), managed by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), provides additional data. The GMR reports that, in 2015, there were 251 deaths attributed to an initial drug-related cause, similar to the number reported in 2014 (263 cases).
The estimated drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) is eight deaths per million, which is lower than the most recent European average of 22 deaths per million.