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Illicit drug use is well known as an important contributor to the global burden of diseases, but the physical and psychopathological risks of recreational drugs misuse are often underestimated and drug-related fatalities in specific settings are under-investigated.
Objectives and methods
In the framework of the EU-funded project “EU-Madness”, we collected and analysed all the reports of drug-related fatalities in Ibiza from January 2010 to September 2016, with the aim of characterising the sample, and identifying the involved substances and the nature of deaths associated with their consumption.
Overall, 58 drug-related fatalities were registered from 2010 to September 2016 (87.9% males, 12.1% females, mean age 33.16; females were significantly younger than males). Most of the deceased were Britons (36.2%), followed by Spanish (22.4%), Italians (6.9%) and Germans (5.2%). In half the cases, the substance identified in post-mortem analyses was a stimulant; in 24.1% of the sample it was a depressor a prescription drug or more than two substances in 22.4%. Most of the fatalities were due to cardiovascular accidents (62%); 22.4% were deaths by drowning, 12% by fall from heights and 3.4% were due to mechanical asphyxia.
According to the results from our sample, stimulants (mainly MDMA and cocaine) are the substances of abuse involved in most drug-caused fatalities. The number of fatalities per year has been steadily increasing, but the growing diffusion of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) does not seem to be a direct cause (although better methods of their analysis in post-mortem samples should be designed).
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
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