Deaths as a result of drug overdoses in Portugal amounted to 72 in 2019, which in the highest number of annual deaths reported in the provided time interval. In 2011, drug deaths fell to only 10, before reaching 54 just four years later. In 2020, drug-induced deaths were counted at 63.
Low death rate compared to Europe
When compared with the rest of Europe, Portugal has a fairly low incidence of drug deaths. A rate of 10 drug deaths per million population (pmp) means that Portugal only had a higher drug death rate than a few countries in the continent, and a significantly lower rate than the 85 deaths pmp in Norway, which is the highest in Europe. In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to decriminalize the consumption of drugs. The low amount of drug deaths in Portugal is usually attributed to this policy of decriminalization.
Breakdown of drugs consumed
The class of drugs that caused the highest share of individuals seeking treatment in Portugal, in 2021, were opioids, with approximately 35 percent of Portuguese drug treatment entrants seeking treatment primarily due to the use of this drug class. With a slightly lower share, cannabis caused 34.99 percent of drug treatment entries in Portugal. In 2020, Portugal had approximately 17.6 thousand individuals in opioid substitution treatment, which was the sixth-highest in Europe.
Number of drug overdose deaths in Portugal from 2008 to 2020
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EMCDDA. (June 16, 2023). Number of drug overdose deaths in Portugal from 2008 to 2020 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved December 06, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/911927/drug-overdose-deaths-in-portugal/
EMCDDA. "Number of drug overdose deaths in Portugal from 2008 to 2020." Chart. June 16, 2023. Statista. Accessed December 06, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/911927/drug-overdose-deaths-in-portugal/
EMCDDA. (2023). Number of drug overdose deaths in Portugal from 2008 to 2020. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: December 06, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/911927/drug-overdose-deaths-in-portugal/
EMCDDA. "Number of Drug Overdose Deaths in Portugal from 2008 to 2020." Statista, Statista Inc., 16 Jun 2023, https://www.statista.com/statistics/911927/drug-overdose-deaths-in-portugal/
EMCDDA, Number of drug overdose deaths in Portugal from 2008 to 2020 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/911927/drug-overdose-deaths-in-portugal/ (last visited December 06, 2023)
Number of drug overdose deaths in Portugal from 2008 to 2020 [Graph], EMCDDA, June 16, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/911927/drug-overdose-deaths-in-portugal/