Austria 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).

The special mortality registry at the Austrian national focal point is the main source of data on drug-related deaths. The most recent data indicate a continued increase in the reported number of drug-induced deaths compared with 2013-14; however, in 2017, this number decreased compared with the previous year. Based on toxicological results, opioids were present in the majority of deaths. Eight out of ten cases were attributed to polydrug use involving opioids combined with alcohol, medicines or other illicit substances. In four out of five registered deaths attributed to drugs the victim was male. The average age at death was 37 years and has been increasing in recent years.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) was 26 deaths per million in 2017.

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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.