Lithuania Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-induced deaths

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

Since 2012, the General Mortality Register of the Institute of Hygiene has reported a continuous increase in the number of drug-induced deaths in Lithuania, with a record number of deaths in 2015. The increase reported up until 2015 was partly attributed to the higher number of post-mortem toxicological screens carried out in recent years and to improved toxicological analysis methods and tools.

The vast majority of the victims in 2017 were male. The mean age at death was 36 years; this figure has increased in recent years. Opioids remained the primary substances involved in 9 out of 10 deaths with known toxicology results (mainly heroin, but also methadone, fentanyl and carfentanil). Almost half of the fatalities occurred in the capital, Vilnius. The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (15-64 years) was 44 deaths per million in 2017, double the 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.