Health Statistics

Drug-induced death statistics in Korea between 2011 and 2021

Seokmin Lee *
Author Information & Copyright
1Statistics Korea, Seo-gu, Daejeon 35220, Korea.
*Corresponding Author: SEOKMIN LEE, Phone: +82-42-366-7318. E-mail:

© Copyright 2024 Ewha Womans University School of Medicine. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Mar 27, 2024; Revised: Apr 04, 2024; Accepted: Apr 10, 2024

Published Online: Apr 30, 2024


(Background) This study aimed to analyze the drug-induced death statistics in Korea between 2011 and 2021.  (Methods) Cause-of-death statistics data from Statistics Korea were examined based on the Korean Standard Classification of Diseases and Causes of Death and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, the 10th revision.  (Results) There were 559 drug-induced deaths which is an increase of 166.2% compare to 2011. The death rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 people) due to drug was 1.1, a 153.6% raise from 2011. The mortality rate of young women has increased significantly. Of the deaths due to drugs in 2021, 75.0% were suicides and 10.4% were accidental deaths. The number of deaths due to medical narcotics was 169, which is a 5.5-fold increase from 2011. In detail, the most common deaths were Sedative-hypnotic drugs, benzodiazepines, and opioids. Sedative-hypnotic drugs and benzodiazepines were commonly used in suicides, and opioids and psychostimulants were commonly used in accidental deaths. <br /> (Conclusion) Compared to other OECD countries, the scale of deaths due to drugs and narcotics is small, but the number of deaths has been increasing significantly recently. Since drug-related deaths occur frequently in the young age group and suicides account for a high proportion, systematic management of related statistics and policy utilization are necessary.<br />  

Keywords: Cause of Death; Narcotics; Opioid; International Classification of Diseases