Characterizing Mortality from Substance Abuse in Iran: An Epidemiological Study during March 2014 to February 2015

Document Type : Original Article(s)


1 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 General Practitioner, Department of Addiction Studies, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Forensic Medicine Specialist, Legal Medicine Research Center, Legal Medicine Organization, Tehran, Iran

4 Assistant Professor, Safety Promotion and Injury Prevention Research Center AND Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Background: Drug abuse is a severe and chronic disorder that leaves morbidity, disability and premature mortality in the society. The study of death due to substance abuse provides useful information for local, national and international administrators. Thus, by identifying the factors that have an impact on overdose-related mortality we can provide suitable intervention for vulnerable groups. The aim of this study was an investigation of mortality rate caused by consumption of narcotic and psychoactive substances in Iran.Methods: In this cross-sectional study, demographic and epidemiological data about all people whose cause of death was substance abuse in March 2014 to February 2015 were collected from Legal Medicine Organization (LMO). Finally, the information that was extracted from two checklists was analyzed by descriptive statistics.Findings: In this study, 2986 cases died from substances abuse were evaluated. Most deaths have befallen in unmarried young men with mean age of 36.9 ± 12.3, in the private locations. The mortality rate of drug abuse in the whole country was 38.4 per 1000000 population. The proportion of mortality was higher in Iranian nationality and in people who had a diploma and less education. History of overdose, suicide, hospitalization in a psychiatric hospital, staying in prison and substance abuse in the family were investigated in the study population.Conclusion: The present study revealed that mortality rate from substance abuse is more among unmarried young men aged 30-39 years with low education level and also in the self-employed group. We suggest that policies should be taken to prevent these people from accessing and using the drug.


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