PPA: Estonia's overdose deaths show no signs of decline

Needles. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The number of deaths caused by overdoses has not declined over the last year, data from the Police and Border Guard Board shows.

Eighty people died from drug overdoses in 2022, double the number in 2021. 

No decrease is expected this year, "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported, which looked into the issue after an increase in drug and alcohol-related deaths was reported on Wednesday.

"Looking at the first four months of this year, we are, unfortunately, moving at about the same pace," said Rait Pikaro, chief of the PPA's narcotics crimes unit in the Northern Prefecture.

In previous years, fentanyl was the police's biggest concern but it has now been replaced by newer and stronger drugs.

"[People] don't know how to use them, they don't know how to dose them, they don't know their potency, and that's why we're seeing a surge in overdose deaths," said National Institute for Health Development (TAI) director Annika Veimer.

In recent weeks, a number of street dealers have been busted and are suspected of distributing synthetic opioids.

"We have caught the middlemen who have brought hundreds of grams of substances into Estonia and we are now working hard to find out where the root of the evil, the biggest distributors, are. At the moment, we think that it is an international drug trafficker," Pikaro said.

The number of deaths caused by alcohol and drugs increased significantly last year, data released by the Health Development Institute (TAI) showed on Wednesday

Alcohol directly caused 750 deaths, which is a record of at least the last 15 years.

The average Estonian resident consumes 11 liters of pure alcohol per year.

Alcohol leads to serious health problems and working-age men are common victims, experts told AK.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

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