DOCUMENTATION SHEET FOR:
Indicator: 14. Drug-related deaths
SHORTLIST sub-division: B) Health status
Status: implementation section
Date last modification documentation sheet: 08-12-2011
Operational indicators (Excel file)
Drug-related deaths per 100,000 population
Drug-related deaths (also called for the purpose of the EMCDDA indicator ‘drug-induced deaths’ or ‘overdoses’) are defined as deaths happening shortly after consumption of one or more illicit psychoactive drugs, and directly related to this consumption.
EMCDDA recomends that the definition is operationalised as follows:
1. When information is extracted from General Mortality Registers, deaths are included when the underlying cause of death is
This is called “selection B” of the EMCDDA standard definitions.
2. When the information is extracted from Special Registries (usually based on medico-legal files) cases are included when the death is due to poisoning by accident, suicide, homicide, or undetermined intent by a set of illegal drugs of abuse. This is called “selection D” of the EMCDDA standard definitions.
3. The few EU countries that cannot apply exactly the above standard procedure (“Selection B” or “Selection D”), they provide the data extracted either from their GMR or SR with ad-hoc procedures (“ad-hoc national definitions”) that are the closest approximations of selections B and D.
EMCDDA presents national data (Table 2) with what is considered the best estimation in each country. In most cases it is one of the standard definitions (either Selection B or Selection D). See remarks for more information.
Relevant dimensions and subgroups
Preferred data type and data source
Preferred data type
General mortality registers (see remarks)
Preferred data source
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA): Drug-related deaths based on standard EMCDDA definition
EMCDDA has collected time series of mortality data according to national definitions since 1985. Tables with absolute numbers by sex and for people aged less than 25 are available at the EMCDDA website as of 1985. Mortality rates per million are published for the entire population, for the population aged 15 to 64, and for the population aged 15 to 39 years (total and males), but only for the latest available year. Data are published for the EU Member States, EU Candidate Countries and Norway. For some countries there are missing values for some specific years or specific break downs. EMCDDA and ECHIM will discuss to what extent EMCDDA can provide the rates required by ECHIM.
Data are collected annually for drug related deaths
Important group of premature and preventable deaths.
Work to do
Discuss with EMCDDA to what extent it is possible for EMCDDA to provide required rates (trends for DRD per 100.000) to ECHIM/SANCO (for uploading the data in the SANCO database/data presentation tool).