2022 saw increase in alcohol and drug-related deaths in Estonia

Alcohol. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

According to data from the Estonian Institute of Health Development's (Tervise Arengu Instituut, TAI) Causes of Death Register, last year there were 17,157 deaths in Estonia. The figure was 1,196 fewer than in 2021 and 1,472 higher than in 2020. For the fifth year in a row, the number of alcohol-related deaths in Estonia increased.

According to an Institute of Health Development (Tervise Arengu Instituut, TAI) press release, one of the reasons for the relatively high number of deaths last year was the persistence of the coronavirus. Covid-19 caused 913 deaths in Estonia in 2022.

8,102 people passed away as a result of circulatory system diseases in Estonia in 2022 (3,281 men and 4,821 women), more than half the total number of deaths for the year.

This was, however, 261 fewer than in 2021, when 8,363 deaths resulting from circulatory diseases were recorded.

Cancer was the next most common cause of death, with 3,476 people in Estonia died due to different forms of the disease last year.

Accidents, poisoning and injury led to the deaths of 983 people - 684 men and 299 women.

The number of deaths resulting from from accidents, injuries and poisoning rose by 27 last year, while the number of deaths caused by cancers was down by 212.

The number of infant deaths (children 1 year of age and under) fell from 29 to 26, while the infant mortality rate remained stable at 2.2 per 1,000 live births.

The number of deaths directly caused by alcohol continues to rise. Last year, 753 alcohol-related deaths were recorded, up from 695 in 2021, and 619 in 2020. The number of deaths directly caused by drug use also increased from 39 in 2021 to 80 last year.

"The number of deaths directly caused by alcohol has increases for the fifth year running. It can be assumed that, in addition to the increase in total alcohol consumption, deaths from alcohol-related diseases were partly  a result of the limited access to health services during the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning (some) people were late in seeking treatment," said Anneli Sammel, head of the TAI's alcohol and tobacco department.

"In 2022, the number of deaths from drug overdoses shot up compared to previous years. A large proportion of those deaths are related to synthetic opioids, specifically the nitazene group of substances. The number of deaths related to carfentanil has also risen. The majority of overdose deaths are caused by combinations of several narcotic and psychotropic substances," explained Aljona Kurbatova, head of the TAI's Infectious Diseases and Drug Abuse Prevention department.

The TAI added, that for those who may need more information or help in dealing with issues related to alcohol or drug addiction and abuse, there are specialist treatment and harm reduction centers in Estonia.

A 24-hour helpline has also been in operation in Estonia since last November.

Help and assistance is available by calling (00372) 641 4110 or 1747, by writing to the chat box on the website www.narko.ee or by sending an e-mail to [email protected].

Additional data regarding the causes of death of 74 foreign residents, who passed away in Estonia in 2022 was also entered into the register. This information was not, however, included in the figures listed above.

More information can be found on the TAI's website here.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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