November 7, 2008

Report: Overdose Kills 1 European an Hour

One person every hour died of a drug overdose last year in Europe, a monitoring organization said in its annual report.

The European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addition, based in Lisbon, Portugal, said drug use, while still high, remained stable in 2007, even though cocaine use rose in some countries, the EU Observer reported.

Concerning drug overdoses, the center said young people were the most vulnerable.

"We estimate there are 7,000 to 8,000 drug-induced deaths in Europe per year," said Wolfgang Gotz, the center's director. "In simple terms, we can say that one of our citizens dies per hour because of an overdose."

The majority of the deaths were heroin-related, Gotz said, but some could be traced to cocaine.

Marijuana was the most consumed illicit drug in Europe, with some 71 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 having tried it at least once in their lives and 23 million using it in the past year, the report said.

Cocaine use increased in seven European Union member countries. The annual report indicated 3.5 million Europeans used cocaine in the last year.