Berlin - The number of drug-related deaths in Germany has risen significantly, according to a report by the German government's drug commissioner Daniel Ludwig (CSU) released on Thursday. Last year, 1,581 people died due to the use of illegal substances, Ludwig said, 183 reported cases  or 13 per cent more than in 2019. 

Most of the deaths were attributed to overdosing of opioids such as heroin and morphine. Some 572 deaths fell into this category, compared to 650 in 2020. The number of deaths linked to cocaine or crack use rose from 36 to 48.

Ludwig said the long-term damage from drug use had resulted in the deaths of 432 people.

"The situation is more dramatic than ever for people suffering from addiction due to the pandemic."

She said more people's lives had fallen into crisis during the pandemic. "Familiar structures, personal offers of help and contact persons virtually disappeared from one day to the next." Ludwig said it was crucial right now to uphold local support for addicts.

According to the data, the most drug-related deaths in 2020 continued to be in the most populous states of North Rhine-Westphalia (401) and Bavaria (248), as well as in Berlin (216).

No statistics have been released for alcohol-related deaths in 2020, but in previous years more than 70,000 people died annually in Germany due to the effects of drinking.

More Berlin news in English.