Estonia tops EU drug overdose deaths list

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."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Australia: Heroin and opioid deaths on the rise

Oct 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 ...

Alcohol causes a quarter of Europe road deaths

Dec 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

Drug research and development more efficient than expected

Feb 27, 2015

Drug R&D costs have increased substantially in recent decades, while the number of new drugs has remained fairly constant, leading to concerns about the sustainability of drug R&D and question about the factors that could ...

Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

Feb 26, 2015

(AP)—A U.S. panel on Thursday recommended that two new meningitis vaccines only be used for rare outbreaks, resisting tearful pleas to give it routinely to teens and college students.

New antibiotic avycaz approved

Feb 26, 2015

(HealthDay)—The combination antibiotic Avycaz (ceftazidime-avibactam) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with complicated infections of the intra-abdominal area or urinary tract, ...

Tagging drugs to fight counterfeit medicines

Feb 25, 2015

The U.S. and other countries are enacting rules to clamp down on the sales of fake pharmaceuticals, which pose a public health threat. But figuring out a system to track and authenticate legitimate drugs still faces significant ...

User 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.