• It is estimated that globally there were 183,000 (range: 95,000-226,000) drug-related deaths (mostly overdoses) in 2012, with opioid overdose the largest category.
Source: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2014 World Drug Report.
• Drug overdose was responsible for 41,340 deaths in the US in 2011. US overdose deaths have increased for 12 successive years. In 2011, and for the fourth year in a row, the number of US citizens whose deaths were drug-related exceeded the number of fatalities in road traffic accidents (33,561). Almost five people per hour died of overdose in the US in 2011.
• In 2012, overdoses in the UK (3,256) exceeded the number of deaths in road accidents (1,832).
Sources: www.ons.gov.uk; www.gro-scotland.gov.uk; and
• Drug fatalities increased in Scotland between 2005 and 2012, from 336 to 581 cases. In 2012, the drug most frequently contributing to overdose was methadone (40%) followed by heroin and/or morphine (38%) and benzodiazepine (34%).
Source: National Records of Scotland.
• In Ontario, Canada, there was a 242% increase in fatal opioid overdoses between 1991 and 2010; from 12.2 deaths per million people to 41.6 deaths per million in 2010. Source: The burden of premature opioid-related mortality, Gomes et al. More.
• It is estimated that more than 70,000 lives were lost to drug overdoses in European Union countries in the first decade of the 21st Century. European Union nations reported 6,100 overdose deaths in 2012.
Source: EMCDDA. Perspectives on Drugs: Preventing overdose deaths in Europe.
• In 2011, the number of people in Estonia whose deaths were drug related (123) exceeded the amount of fatalities caused in road traffic accidents (101).
Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
• Countries in South America, the Caribbean and Central America reported between 4000 and 7300 drug-related deaths, with a mortality rate well below the global average, according to the The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report 2014.
• Drug-related deaths in Asia are tentative because of poor regional coverage and reporting of mortality data. However, it is estimated that there were between 11,400 and 99,600 deaths in 2012 in Asia, according to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) 2014 World Drug Report.
• Oceania, which includes Australia and New Zealand, has a higher than average drug mortality rate.The UNODC said there were between 1,600 and 1,900 drug-related deaths in 2012.
• Nearly four Australians die every day from overdose. Overdoses out-numbered road fatalities in Australia in 2012. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics overdose deaths totalled 1,427 in 2012, while road deaths, which have been steadily declining, ended the year at 1,338. (Data provided to Penington Institute by Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014).
-Heroin (diacetylmorphine) is a highly addictive semisynthetic opioid that is derived from morphine. When used intravenously, it is 3-5 times more potent than its parent compound, and is able to modulate pain perception and cause euphoria. In its pure form, heroin is a white powder with a bitter taste. Because of impurities and additives, street heroin may appear in various hues and colors, ranging from white to dark brown, to a black, tarry substance.
-Mexican heroin production has increased significantly since 2002 from an estimated 6.8 metric tons to a production level of 50 metric tons in 2011—a more than seven-fold increase in just seven years. This increase in production has made heroin more available in many areas across the country, including Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Illinois, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
-Statistics data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services indicate that the number of deaths in Missouri residents because of heroin overdose has increased significantly within the last four years from 69 cases in 2007 to 167 in 2009, and 190 in 2010.
-More than 53 percent of all heroin-associated deaths statewide are between 15 and 35 years of age.
-According to the National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health, initiations to heroin have increased 80 percent since 2002.
-The majority of youth aged 12 to 17 entering public treatment for heroin across the nation were white (76 percent), followed by Latinos (16 percent), with only 2 percent of those entering treatment being African American.
-Officials believe the crackdown on meth and cocaine has prompted some to turn to heroin.
-The St. Louis region is a “hot spot” for heroin-associated death in Missouri: from 2007 to date, 90% of total statewide deaths have been reported from the St. Louis metropolitan area (St Louis City, and the counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, Franklin, and Lincoln).
-Heroin overdose is usually not the cause of immediate death. In cases of overdose, death is slow and includes symptoms such as slow and shallow breathing, tongue or lip discoloration, accompanied by drowsiness. Death typically occurs over a few hours.
-Teenagers as young as 13 years old have been found to be heroin abusers.
-Over a tenth of the 1.5 million emergency room patient visits due to drug abuse or overdose were attributed to heroin users in the year 2005.
-Over half of the accidental deaths that occurred due to drug abuse or overdose in the year 2008 involved the use of heroin.
-Heroin overdose rates have grown at double-digit rates for man and women over the age of 35 all over the world.
-The fourth leading cause of death in the age group of people between 25 and 49 is due to overdose of illicit drugs.
-Over 53% of all heroin-associated deaths in Missouri are between 15 and 35 years of age, while this age group represents only 27% of the population (2009 estimate).
-A Heroin user can pay anywhere from $150.00 and up to support their addiction each day.
-51 percent of all accidents reported in hospital emergency rooms as far back as 1999 was attributed to Heroin and Morphine abuse, it has increased significantly since then.
-In the 25 to 49 age group, illicit drug overdose is the fourth leading cause of death, about the same number as motor vehicle crashes.
-Children as young as 13 have been found involved in heroin abuse.