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Europe: 8,400 die of illicit drugs overdose

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has warned against increase in deaths arising from overdose of illicit drugs in Europe for the third consecutive year.

The agency gave the warning on Tuesday in its annual report in Brussels. According to the EU which quoted a report, in 2015 alone, more than 8,400 people died of drug overdose in the 28 EU member states plus Turkey and Norway, representing six per cent increase from 2014. The report said that the deaths were mainly related to heroin and other opioids and in many cases, the drugs were used in combination with alcohol.

“One of the main drivers behind the upwards trend was a 26-per cent increase in opioid-related deaths in Britain compared to the previous year. “The number of overdose deaths also increased in Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden and Turkey.

“The mean age for overdose deaths was 38 with men accounting for 78 per cent of the victims,’’ it said.

The report also warned that new psychoactive substances were still on the rise, noting that new restrictions and legislation had slowed the introduction of these drugs to the market.

“A comparison included in the current drug report showed that eight per cent of students aged 15-16 were using cannabis in the previous month in 21 EU countries and Norway. “Following the release of two surveys in 2016 of school students’ substance abuse in U.S and Europe, the figure was at 15 per cent in the U.S.,’’ it said.

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