Overall mortality among problem drug users

Problem drug users account for less than 1 % of the adult population of the EU, but significant health and social problems are concentrated within this small group.

Mortality cohort studies show that mortality among problem drug users is up to 20 times higher than among the general population of the same age. Much of this high mortality can be attributed to death from accidental overdose, but other causes include deaths from AIDS and other infectious diseases, accidents and suicides. Overdoses and accidental deaths account for an important part of this mortality in areas where HIV prevalence among drug users is low, whereas AIDS plays a significant role in countries with high injection-related HIV prevalence.

Mortality among injectors is two to four times higher than in non-injecting problem drug users, and (until recently) mortality among HIV-infected drug users was two to six times higher than in non-infected users. With recent improvements in HIV treatment, this difference appears to be declining.