Bulgaria 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 general mortality register reported a decline in drug-induced deaths for 2008-14, with some stabilisation at low levels since then. In 2017, 18 drug-induced deaths were reported in Bulgaria. The mean age at the time of death was 35 years.

The drug-induced mortality rate among adults (aged 15-64 years) was estimated at four deaths per million in 2016, which is lower than the most recent European average of 22 deaths per million. However, comparisons between countries should be undertaken with caution. The reasons for this include systematic under-reporting in some countries, and different reporting systems, case definitions and registration processes. In Bulgaria, difficulties related to data coverage and the coding of cause of death suggest that the number of reported drug-induced deaths is an underestimate.

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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.