Use of substances and death conditions in Greek population

Eleftheria Kokkini (1), Charalampos Poulopoulos (2), Chara Spiliopoulou (3)

(1) PhD Candidate, Department of Social Administration and Political Science, Democritus University of Thrace

(2) Professor of social work, department of social Administration and Political science, Democritus University of Thrace, e-mail:

(3) Professor of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology of the Medical School of the University of Athens


This study describes the substances that involved in fatal situations involving psychotropic drug users and were investigated for the 2012-2016 period, at the Laboratory of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology of the Medical School of the of the University of Athens. The main substances that emerged by research and toxicological tests done using a blood and urine sample are heroin, benzodiazepines, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and alcohol. A total of 5,467 deaths were examined, of which 3.25% (178 cases) referred to cases of psychotropic drug users who were positive to at least one addictive substance. Men make up the majority of individuals (89.90%) and the average age of all is 41.99 years.

The poisoning caused by addictive substances was the cause of death for 96 cases (53.9%), suicide for 22 (12.4%) and the related or not related to substances organic cause in 60 cases (33.7%). Finally, the majority of deaths occurred at home (62.9%) and only 16.90% of users’ deaths are reported to happen at a park, road or outside.

The results are confirmed by other scientific data that suggest that the opioids and benzodiazepines are the main cause of death caused by addictive substances poisoning and that the main place of death of psychotropic drug users is home. The findings above can help in designing and implementing programs to prevent sudden death from substance use and lead policies in the right direction.


Drug related deaths, postmortem samples, case profiling, archival research

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