STA, 28 April - Forty-seven people died in Slovenia in 2017 of causes related to drug abuse, seven more than in 2016, shows data from the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).
Drug-related deaths have been rising since 2013. In 2017, one person who died was a teenager aged 15-19, four were aged 20-24, and as many as 16 were older than 45.
The vast majority of the casualties, or 79%, were men, according to the NIJZ's publication on illegal drugs in Slovenia in 2017 and in the first half of 2018.
The majority of the deaths from 2017 resulted from heroin and cocaine intoxication, 18 and 14, respectively.
As many as seven resulted from other synthetic opioids, and there were eight intentional intoxications, or overdoses.
Marijuana remains the most popular illegal drug
Police processed almost 2,000 criminal acts related to illegal drugs, with cannabis accounting for the majority, followed by cocaine, heroin and amphetamines.
A survey on treatment has shown 211 persons (86.4%) who sought treatment for the first time or re-entered such treatment in 2017 did so due to problems with opioids.
Fifteen persons (6%) cited problems with cannabis as the reason for treatment.
The number of people seeking treatment for cannabis rose in 2017, after falling in 2016 for the first time in several years.
Ever since 2011, cannabis (THC) has been the drug for which patients were most often treated at the Centre for Clinic Toxicology and Pharmacology in Ljubljana.
Meanwhile, results of a survey into drug abuse has shown that 42.5% of all surveyed 17-year-olds have tried cannabis at least once, boys more often than girls.
An online survey on the use of new psychoactive substances has shown that 12% of University of Ljubljana students abuse them.
According to another online survey, carried out by the Slovenian Traffic Safety Agency in 2016, 5% of almost 3,030 persons polled were involved in driving under the influence in the 12 months before the poll, again more men and women.
In 2017, the Ministry of Labour, the Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities earmarked almost 3.3 million euro for various programmes to fight addiction.
Meanwhile, the NIJZ's estimates the country earmarked a total of 10.4 million euro to deal with the issue, including for preventive programmes.