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Australien/Kanada. Opioid harm in Australia: and comparisons between Australia and Canada

Opioid use and its associated harms is an issue of great public health interest, both within Australia and internationally. This report shows that opioid harms are an issue in both Australia and Canada. Rates of opioid deaths and opioid poisoning hospitalisations in Australia increased in the last 10 years. In 2016, pharmaceutical opioids were involved in more opioid deaths and opioid poisoning hospitalisations than heroin. 

Australian Government, Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, 09.11.2018, ISBN: 978-1-76054-436-2


Lethal Fentanyl and Cocaine Intoxication.

Khatri UG, Viner K, Perrone J.

N Engl J Med. 2018 Nov 1;379(18):1782. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc1809521.


The toxicology of heroin-related death: estimating survival times.

Ruan X, Chiravuri S, Kaye AD.

Addiction. 2016 Dec;111(12):2261. doi: 10.1111/add.13547. Epub 2016 Sep 15. No abstract available. Erratum in: Addiction. 2017 Feb;112(2):375.


USA. Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts

This data visualization presents provisional counts for drug overdose deaths based on a current flow of mortality data in the National Vital Statistics System. (CDC - National Center for Health Statistics, USA, Oktober 2018)


USA - Office of National Drug Control Policy. Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders

The increased prevalence of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids in the illicit drug market means that first responders need to understand how to protect themselves from exposure in the field.  Law enforcement, fire, rescue, and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel must balance safety with mobility and efficiency when responding to scenes where the presence of fentanyl is suspected.

The Fentanyl Safety Recommendations for First Responders, and the companion training video Fentanyl: The Real Deal, provide unified, scientific, evidence-based recommendations to first responders so they can protect themselves when the presence of fentanyl is suspected during the course of their daily activities such as responding to overdose calls and conducting traffic stops, arrests, and searches. (Office of National Drug Control Policy, USA, August 2018)


EMCDDA. Preventing overdose deaths in Europe (Perspectives on drugs) – update 2018 


More than 9 000 lives were reported to be lost to drug overdoses in Europe (28 EU Member States, Turkey and Norway) in 2016, the latest reporting year, and this is an underestimate. Reducing drug-related deaths therefore remains a major challenge for public health policy. This analysis describes some of the factors that increase the risk of fatal and non-fatal overdoses and a number of interventions developed to prevent these events. (EMCDDA,Lissabon,Oktober 2018)


Opioid, Amphetamine, and Cocaine-Induced Deaths in Australia: August 2018

Roxburgh, A., Dobbins, T., Degenhardt, L., and Peacock, A. (2018). 

Sydney, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales.


Substance Use, Criminal Recidivism, and Mortality in Criminal Justice Clients: A Comparison between Men and Women.

Caroline Mannerfelt and Anders Håkansson

Journal of Addiction, vol. 2018, Article ID 1689637, 9 pages, 2018. doi.org/10.1155/2018/1689637.


Kanada. Illicit Drug Overdose Deaths in BC - January 1, 2008 – July 31, 2018

British Columbia, Coroner Service, Posting Date August 22, 2018 


Death after diagnosis of non-communicable disease comorbid conditions, stratified by injection drug use.

Lesko CR, Lau B, Chander G, Moore RD.

AIDS. 2018 Oct 15. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000002054.



Australien. Majority of opioid overdose deaths relate to pharmaceutical opioids

The number of people dying as a result of opioid use has risen markedly, says a report by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW Sydney. (University of New South Wales, Australien. 20.08.2018)


USA. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Evidence-Based Strategies for Preventing Opioid Overdose: What’s Working in the United States.

National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018.


Notes from the Field: Overdose Deaths with Carfentanil and Other Fentanyl Analogs Detected — 10 States, July 2016–June 2017.

O’Donnell J, Gladden RM, Mattson CL, Kariisa M. 

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:767–768. doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6727a4.


Preventing overdose deaths in Europe

Introduction: More than 9 000 lives were reported to be lost to drug overdoses in Europe (28 EU Member States, Turkey and Norway) in 2016, the latest reporting year, and this is an underestimate. Reducing drug-related deaths therefore remains a major challenge for public health policy. This analysis describes some of the factors that increase the risk of fatal and non-fatal overdoses and a number of interventions developed to prevent these events. (EMCDDA, Lissabon, 03.10.2018)


UK. Deaths from fentanyl nearly double in a year as total drug fatalities reach record levels in England and Wales

Government faces calls for drugs law reform after official statistics show overall drugs deaths have hit record levels for the fourth year in a row and reveal a marked increase in fatalities from opioid with street name 'serial killer'. (The Independent, UK, 06.08.2018)


Opportunities to Prevent Overdose Deaths Involving Prescription and Illicit Opioids, 11 States, July 2016–June 2017.

Mattson CL, O’Donnell J, Kariisa M, Seth P, Scholl L, Gladden RM. 

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:945–951. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6734a2.


USA. Bleak New Estimates in Drug Epidemic: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017 

Fentanyl is a big culprit, but there are also encouraging signs from states that have prioritized public health campaigns and addiction treatment. (New York Times, 15.08.2018)


Changing dynamics of the drug overdose epidemic in the United States from 1979 through 2016.

Jalal H, Buchanich JM, Roberts MS, Balmert LC, Zhang K, Burke DS.

Science. 2018 Sep 21;361(6408). pii: eaau1184. doi: 10.1126/science.aau1184.


UK. Fentanyl and cocaine drug deaths rise

The number of deaths in England and Wales due to the synthetic opioid fentanyl rose by 29% in 2017, Office for National Statistics data shows. (BBC, 06.08.20118)


High buprenorphine-related mortality is persistent in Finland.

Kriikku P, Häkkinen M, Ojanperä I.

Forensic Sci Int. 2018 Aug 17;291:76-82. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2018.08.010. 



International Overdose Awareness Day 2018 (31.08.2018) - Downloadable Resources


USA. Drug overdose epidemic has been growing exponentially for decades

Death rates from drug overdoses in the US have been on an exponential growth curve that began at least 15 years before the mid-1990s surge in opioid prescribing, suggesting that overdose death rates may continue along this same historical growth trajectory for years to come. These findings suggest that, to be successful, prevention efforts must extend beyond control of specific drugs to address deeper factors driving the epidemic. (University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Science in: Science Daily, 20.09.2018)


USA. Opiatüberdosierung: Wie Ärzte aus ihren Fehlern lernen können

Los Angeles – Eine Rückmeldung vom Rechtsmediziner, dass einer ihrer Patienten an einer Opiat-Überdosierung gestorben ist, hat US-Ärzte einer randomisierten Studie in Science (2018; 361: 588–590) zufolge zu einer – etwas – zurückhaltenderen Verordnung der Opiate veranlasst. (aerzteblatt.de, 10.08.2018)


Kanada. ‘The crisis is not abating’: Opioids killing more than 11 Canadians daily

More than 11 Canadians are dying every day on average because of opioids, according to new data from the federal government.

“The crisis is not abating,” Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Canada is the world’s second highest per-capita consumer of opioids, after the United States, which has led to widespread misuse, dependence and addiction. (The Globe and Mail, Kanada, 18.09.2018)


Methadone maintenance treatment and mortality in people with criminal convictions: A population-based retrospective cohort study from Canada.

Russolillo A, Moniruzzaman A, Somers JM (2018) 

PLoS Med 15(7): e1002625. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002625


USA. Fentanyl: The Opioid Epidemic That's Killing America | Opinion

The number of bodies piling up in Florida’s 4th District morgue was so large last year, the medical examiner’s office ran out of room. In Cook County Illinois, medical officials responded to 74 overdoses in 72 hours.

(..) According to preliminary estimates recently released from the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdoses killed more than 72,000 Americans last year, the highest number on record.

(...) While opioid overdoses are driving the increase in deaths, prescription drugs are no longer the primary cause. Instead “synthetic” opioids like fentanyl and its chemical siblings, so-called fentanyl “analogues,” are fueling the death spiral. It was fentanyl that filled the Florida morgue to capacity and fentanyl-laced heroin that overwhelmed Cook County’s first responders. (Newsweek, 12.09.2018)


Reducing the opioid overdose death toll in North America.

Hall WD, Farrell M (2018) 

PLoS Med 15(7): e1002626. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002626


Contributions of prescribed and non-prescribed opioids to opioid related deaths: population based cohort study in Ontario, Canada.

Gomes T, Khuu W, Martins D, Tadrous M, Mamdani MM, Paterson JM, Juurlink DN.

BMJ. 2018 Aug 29;362:k3207. doi: 10.1136/bmj.k3207.