Number of drug overdose deaths in Portugal 2008-2016

Deaths as a result of drug overdoses in Portugal amounted to 30 in 2016, which although a decrease on the preceding year still accounts for the third highest number of annual deaths in the provided time interval. In 2011, drug deaths fell to only 10, before reaching 54 just four years later.

Low death rate compared to Europe

When compared with the rest of Europe, Portugal has one of the lowest incidences of drug deaths in Europe. A rate of 4 drug deaths per million population (pmp) means that Portugal only had a higher drug death rate in Europe than Romania, and significantly lower than the 130 deaths pmp in Estonia 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 drug that caused the highest share of individuals seeking treatment in Portugal was heroin, with approximately 39 percent of Portuguese drug treatment entrants seeking treatment primarily due to the use of this drug. While, slightly lower was cannabis, which caused 37 percent of drug treatment entries in Portugal. In 2017, Portugal had approximately 16.9 thousand individuals in opioid substitution treatment, which was the seventh highest in Europe.

Number of drug overdose deaths in Portugal from 2008 to 2016

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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period

2008 to 2016

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Statistics on "Drug use in Europe"

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