Estonia tops EU drug overdose deaths list

February 13, 2013

Officials in Estonia raised the alarm Wednesday after a report into drug use in Europe found that the small Baltic nation had the highest incidence of deaths from drug overdoses in the EU.

Last year, 160 people died from overdoses, data from the Europe Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addictions (EMCDDA) showed, an increase of 21 percent from last year.

Most of the deaths were caused by taking a highly addictive form of synthetic heroin known as China White, which is often smuggled in from Russia.

"More people per million inhabitants perish in Estonia than in any other EU country due to , and most of these deaths are related to drugs called 'China White'," Ave Talu, head of Estonia's Drug Monitoring Centre, told AFP.

While the average number of deaths from overdoses across the 27-member EU bloc stands at up to 20 people per million, in Estonia the figure is five times higher, at over 100 per million.

In 2011, 132 people died from in the former Soviet nation of 1.3 million people.

Most of the people who died in 2012 were ethnic Russian men, the EMCDDA data showed.

Using a new to synthetic heroin, , could "cut the death rates from overdose nearly in half," Talu said.

But the drug is not yet available on a community outreach basis, she said.

"In Estonia, naloxone is used only by medical staff and unlike some other countries like the US, we do not yet have community-based naloxone distribution and training programmes, but they are urgently needed."

Related Stories

Australia: Heroin and opioid deaths on the rise

October 10, 2012

A total of 500 Australians aged 15 to 54 died from accidental opioid overdoses in 2008 and preliminary estimates suggest deaths of this nature will be higher again in 2009 and 2010, according to the National Drug and Alcohol ...

Alcohol causes a quarter of Europe road deaths

December 15, 2012

Alcohol abuse is responsible for around a quarter of the 30,000 people who die in road accidents across the European Union every year, the bloc's drugs agency said in a report published on Friday.

Recommended for you

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.