In 2018, Mater Dei Hospital saw 475 cases of drug overdoses and 1,811 cases of alcohol poisoning, unveiling a sobering reality over the pressures the country’s healthcare system is facing.
To put things into perspective, that’s roughly one drug overdose and an impressive five cases of alcohol poisoning every day.
The figures, which were tabled by Health Minister Chris Fearne after a parliamentary question by MP Hermann Schiavone, revealed some worrying trends.
The number of overdoses, for example, has experienced a dramatic climb, increasing by roughly 45% from 2017 (330 overdose cases). Meanwhile, the number of inebriated people clogging up valuable space within the emergency wards has often been flagged as a significant issue by doctors and medical professionals.
Overdoses themselves often come from illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine, but several legal medicines such as paracetamol can also lead to accidental poisoning.
It’s also important to note that many overdoses may never be reported due to fears of facing criminal charges, ultimately leaving the person to recover by themselves wherever they are. Overdoses have occurred everywhere from personal homes to public gardens to private clubs.
Other times, the overdoses may come from within correctional facilities themselves. In July 2018, four Mount Carmel in-patients were taken to Mater Dei – three of them unconscious – after suffering from synthetic drug overdoses.
If you or someone around you experiences an overdose call 112 immediately.