twitter facebook

Facts & Stats




It is estimated that in 2014 there were 207,400 (range: 113,700 – 250,100) drug-related deaths with overdose accounting for up to a half of all deaths and with opioids involved in most cases.

Source: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ‘2016 World Drug Report’.



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 13,600 and 100,700 deaths in 2013.

Source: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)’ 2015 World Drug Report’.



In 2013, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition observed:

‘With only a few provinces actively reporting overdose fatalities, it is difficult to gauge the extent of opioid related overdose deaths and injuries across Canada. What we do know is that prescription opioid related deaths have risen sharply and are estimated to be about 50 percent of annual drug deaths.’

Source: Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, ‘Opioid Overdose Prevention and Response in Canada’

In May 2016 the British Columbia Coroners Service released the number of illicit drug overdose deaths that occurred in B.V between January 1, 2007 and April 30, 2016.

They found that there were 480 apparent illicit drug overdose deaths in 2015, a 31.1 per cent increase in deaths from 2014 (366 deaths).

In 2015 the illicit overdose death rate increased to 10.2 deaths per 100,000 population. Similar rates were previously seen in 1998 (10.0 deaths) and 1993 (9.9 deaths)

There were 76 deaths in January 2016; the largest number of deaths in a single month for the examined period (2007 to 2016).

Preliminary data suggest that the proportion of illicit drug overdose deaths for which fentanyl was detected increased to 49 per cent in the first three months of 2016.

Source:  British Columbia Coroners Service, ‘Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC’,



In 2015 China gave it’s first-ever assessment of the human impact of drug overdose, saying there were as many as 49,000 deaths in 2014.

Source: Business Insider, June 24, 2015.


England and Wales

There were 3,346 drug poisoning deaths registered in England and Wales in 2014, the highest since comparable records began in 1993.

Deaths involving heroin and/or morphine increased by almost two-thirds between 2012 and 2014, from 579 to 952 deaths.

Deaths involving cocaine increased sharply to 247 in 2014 – up from 169 deaths in 2013.

People aged 40 to 49 had the highest mortality rate from drug misuse (88.4 deaths per million population); followed by people aged 30 to 39 (87.9 deaths per million).

Source: Office of National Statistics, ‘Deaths Related to Drug Poisoning in England and Wales: 2014 registrations’



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.

Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, ’Perspectives on Drugs: Preventing overdose deaths in Europe’.

In 2014 it is estimated that at least 6,800 overdoses deaths occurred in the European Union. For 2014, the mortality rate due to overdoses in Europe is estimated at 18.3 deaths per million population aged 15-64. Rates of over 40 deaths per million were reported in 8 countries, with the highest rates reported in Estonia (113 per million), Sweden (93 per million) and Ireland (71 per million).

Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, ‘European Drug Report 2016’.



Oceania, which includes Australia and New Zealand, has a higher than average drug mortality rate. The UNODC said there were between 1,700 and 2,100 drug-related deaths in 2013.

Source: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ‘2015 World Drug Report’.



There were 613 drug-related deaths in 2014, 86 (16 per cent) more than in 2013. This was the highest number recorded since the series of figures began in 1996, and was 257 (72 per cent) more than in 2004.

Source: National Records of Scotland, Drug-related Deaths in Scotland in 2014


South America and Latin America

Countries in South America, the Caribbean and Central America reported between 4,900 and 10,900 drug-related deaths in 2013, with a mortality rate well below the global average.

Source: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) ‘2015 World Drug Report’.


United States

The United States is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any other year on record. Deaths from drug overdose are up among both men and women, all races, and adults of nearly all ages.

More than three out of five drug overdose deaths involve an opioid. Overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, have nearly quadrupled since 1999. Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 28,000 people in 2014. Over half of those deaths were from prescription opioids.

During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, representing a 1-year increase of 6.5 per cent, from 13.8 per 100,000 persons in 2013 to 14.7 per 100,000 persons in 2014.

Source: Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, ‘Overview of an epidemic’.



If you have some additional data which may improve the material presented here, send it through to