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Croat Med J. 2011 Oct 15;52(5):629-36.

Influence of war on quantitative and qualitative changes in drug-induced mortality in Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia.

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Public Health Institutes of Split and Dalmatian County, Split, Croatia.



To study drug-induced mortality and characteristics of overdose deaths in the war (1991-1995), pre-war (1986-1990), and post-war period (1996-2000) in Split-Dalmatia County.


We retrospectively searched through Databases of the Department of Forensic Medicine, University Hospital Split, the national register of death records, the archives of the Split-Dalmatia County Police, and the Register of Treated Drug Addicts of the Croatian National Institute of Public Health, covering the period from 1986 to 2000, according to drug poisoning codes IX and X of the International Classification of Diseases. The indicators were statistically analyzed.


There were 146 registered drug-induced deaths, with 136 (93%) deceased being men. The median age of all cases was 27 years (interquartile range 8). Most of them were single (70.6%), unemployed (44.6%), and secondary school graduates (69.2%). In the war period, there were 4.8 times more deaths than in the pre-war period (P=0.014), and in the post-war period there were 5.2 times more deaths than in the pre-war period (P=0.008). The most common site of death was the deceased person's home. The toxicological analyses showed that 59 (61%) deaths were heroin related, alcohol use was found in 62 cases (42.5%), and multi-substance use was found in more than a half of the cases. In 133 (91.1%) cases, deaths were classified as unintentional, whereas 13 (8.9%) were classified as suicides. CONCLUSION; The war, along with other risk factors, contributed to unfavorable developments related to drug abuse in Split-Dalmatia County, including the increase in the drug-induced mortality rate.

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