English summaries 3/2020 vsk 75 s. 126 - 134

Decreasing number of fatal accidental alcohol poisonings in Finland – drug related deaths remain stable

Pirkko KriikkuIlkka Ojanperä
Myrkytyskuolemien määrän kehitys
Myrkytyskuolemat vuosina 2014–2017
Lääke- ja huumausainemyrkytyskuolemat vuosina 2014–2017
Vainajista todetut lääke- ja huumausaineiden päihdekäyttölöydökset ja päihdekäyttäjien kokonaismäärä

BACKGROUND The medico-legal autopsy rate and the post-mortem toxicology rate are exceptionally high in Finland, being currently 16% and 12% of all deaths, respectively. These figures, which are higher than in the other Nordic countries, allow reliable monitoring of fatal poisonings due to alcohol, drugs, carbon monoxide or other poisons.

METHODS The study focused on the years 2014–2017 and was based on the original data from cause-of-death investigations.

RESULTS There was a pronounced reduction (18%) in fatal accidental alcohol poisonings during the study period as this figure declined from 279 to 229. Drug poisonings decreased during 2014–2016, but increased again in 2017. However, the proportion of opioids among all drugs decreased steadily from 38% to 31%. Buprenorphine related deaths were continuously frequent.

CONCLUSIONS The total number of fatal poisonings increased from the 1980s until 2006. Since then, there has been a fairly steady decrease in all categories of fatal poisonings. The positive development in fatal alcohol poisonings reflects the decrease in alcohol consumption. During the study period, opioids did not play as prominent role as in many other countries. Episodes associated with new designer opioids show that the situation may change rapidly.


Pirkko Kriikku
FT, oikeuskemisti
Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos, oikeustoksikologiayksikkö
Helsingin yliopisto, oikeuslääketieteen osasto
Ilkka Ojanperä
FT, professori
Helsingin yliopisto, oikeuslääketieteen osasto
Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos, oikeustoksikologiayksikkö

Lääkäriliitto Fimnet Lääkärilehti Potilaanlaakarilehti Lääkäripäivät Lääkärikompassi Erikoisalani Lääkäri 2030