This study aimed to identify relevant European data sources on drug-related homicide, to assess the role of drugs in national homicide data, and to assess these sources and data in terms of monitoring potential.
Drugs can act as facilitators for all types of violence, including drug-related homicide (DRH). Addressing this phenomenon is not only of importance given the severity of a homicide event and its high costs on society, but also because DRH has the potential to act as a valuable indicator or proxy of wider drug-related violent crime. However, there appears to be an important gap in terms of available European data on DRH. This study aimed to identify relevant European data sources on DRH, to assess the role of drugs in national homicide data, and to assess these sources and data in terms of monitoring potential.
A critical review was conducted of existing national and international homicide data sources. A threestep approach was adopted, including systematic searches for data sources and literature, snowballing methods, and contacting professionals.
Data on DRH is systematically prepared in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (England, Wales, and Scotland). Available data suggests both between- and within country variability in relation to the role of drugs in homicide events. Based on these findings, four key obstacles can be identified in terms of the current ability to monitor DRH: missing data, fragmented data, comparability issues and data quality reservations.
To overcome these obstacles, there is a need for an international monitoring system that incorporates DRH. Ideally, the system should employ a single shared definition, standardised terminology, one coordinating body, and the use of multiple data sources. There are several approaches towards such a system, notably expanding the European Homicide Monitor (EHM) framework. Options should be explored to incorporate DRH into this existing and growing monitoring system.