Portugal 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).

According to data from Statistics Portugal, the number of drug-induced deaths decreased in 2016 after a large increase in 2015. The majority of deaths occurred among males. The mean age of males was 42 years and that of females was 45 years. Complementary information available from the National Institute of Forensic Medicine suggests that opioids — mainly heroin and methadone — were detected in around three out of four drug-related deaths; however, in the majority of cases more than one substance was detected, and many cases involved the presence of cocaine, amphetamine-type stimulants and alcohol.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) was 4 deaths per million in 2017, which is lower than 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.