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Please note that the information on this page is based on the EMCDDA Annual report 2011: the state of the drugs problem in Europe. Most statistical data relate to the year 2009 (or the last year available).


Annual report 2011: the state of the drugs problem in Europe
Drug-related infectious diseases and drug-related deaths

Published: 15 November 2011


Drug use can produce a wide range of negative consequences, such as accidents, mental health disorders, pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular problems, unemployment or homelessness. Harmful consequences are particularly prevalent among problem drug users, whose general health and socio-economic situation can be far below those in the general population.

Opioid use and injecting drug use are two forms of drug use closely associated with such harms, notably overdoses and the transmission of infectious diseases. The number of fatal overdoses reported in the European Union in the last two decades is equivalent to about one overdose death every hour. Research also shows that, in the last two decades, a large number of drug users have died from other causes, such as AIDS or suicide (Bargagli et al., 2006; Degenhardt et al., 2009).

Reducing the mortality and morbidity related to drug use is central to European drug policies. The main efforts in this area are through interventions that are directed at the groups that are most at-risk, and targeting the behaviours directly associated with drug-related harms.

Bibliographic references

Bargagli, A.M., Hickman, M., Davoli, M., Perucci, C.A., Schifano, P. et al. (2006), 'Drug-related mortality and its impact on adult mortality in eight European countries', European Journal of Public Health 16, pp. 198-202.

Degenhardt, L., Singleton, J., Calabria, B., McLaren, J., Kerr, T., Mehta, S., Kirk, G. and Hall, W.D. (2011), 'Mortality among cocaine users: A systematic review of cohort studies', Drug and Alcohol Dependence 113, pp. 88-95.

About the EMCDDA

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) is the reference point on drugs and drug addiction information in Europe. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU's decentralised agencies. Read more >>

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Page last updated: Friday, 28 October 2011