Overdose Deaths Increase from 2017 Skip to content
Photo: A screenshot from Let Me Fall (2018), which addresses drug addiction among youth in Iceland. .

Overdose Deaths Increase from 2017

Thirty-seven people have died from drug overdoses in Iceland so far this year, RÚV reports. The number has already surpassed last year’s total of 34. Many more youths are currently hospitalised for drug addiction than six years ago.

The death of young people due to drug overdoses was the topic of discussion at an open meeting held yesterday by Náum áttum, a youth addiction prevention and education group. Of the 37 individuals who have died of drug overdoses this year, ten are under 30 years old.

Last year just under 1,100 people were admitted to hospital in Iceland due to drug poisoning. Compared to 2012, the numbers have decreased in older age groups but increased among young people, including a 40% increase in those in their early twenties. While older Icelanders tend to overdose with a combination of antidepressant medication and alcohol, in cases of younger individuals opioids and illegal drugs are a more common combination.

Ólafur B. Einarsson, project manager at the Directorate of Health, says young people are not being prescribed the drugs they overdose on, “they are getting these drugs in other ways.” Patients in other Nordic countries, however, receive far fewer prescriptions for habit-forming medication, Ólafur adds. “That’s the main difference between Iceland and its neighbouring countries.”

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!

Share article