The number of drugs-related deaths in Germany has dropped to the lowest level since 1988, official figures for 2011 show. But there were more first-time users, especially of 'crystal meth' and amphetamines.
Fewer people died of drug addiction in 2001 than at any point since 1988, figures from the Federal Criminal Office (BKA) presented by the government's representative on drugs, Mechthild Dyckmans, showed on Monday.
Treatment options like methadone programs as well as official spaces for drug consumption and facilities where addicts can get clean needles help "addicts to survive and stabilize them healthwise," Dyckmans said.
A total of 986 people, mainly users of heroin, died as a result of their addiction last year - a 20-percent reduction compared with the year before. The average age of those who die of drug use has risen from 32 to 37 between 2002 and 2011.
More 'crystal meth' users
The number of people using drugs for the first time, however, has risen by 15 percent, with methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, and amphetamines at the forefront. Ecstasy and cocaine were also still popular.
There was a 163-percent rise in first-time users of crystal meth, making the drug more widely used than ecstasy for the first time. Heroin consumption, however declined in 2011.
Authorities confiscated a record 1.4 tons of amphetamine and methamphetamine in 2011.
The president of the Federal Criminal Office, Jörg Ziercke, also warned of the use of cannabis, which he said was by no means a "soft drug," as it is often available in highly concentrated forms these days.
ng/pfd (dpa, AFP)