scale up
scale down

The Great Intoxi-Nation

Which drugs we consume and what they do to us.


substances, drugs, medication: we drink, swallow, inject, sniff, smoke them so that we feel better. Even if only for a short time. Whether illegal or legal drugs, whether substitution drugs or psycho-pharmaceutical drugs - they all influence our psyche. They can calm us down for a moment, stimulate us, ward off states of anxiety or let us see and experience something unreal. Many of us feel like we need them every day to function, to be happy.

Waste water truth

An ongoing study by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addition measures substances in waste water of European cities. 60 European cities participated voluntarily in different years. Austria was represented in 2017 by Innsbruck and in 2015 by Klosterneuburg, which three years ago tabloid media wrongfully described as a coke hub. In truth, Klosterneuburg had only led the ranking due to the lack of comparative data in Austria. According to the study, the cocaine content in Klosterneuburg is among the lowest in Europe.

Popularity by region

Google Trends records how often people in different regions search for specific terms to measure their popularity. The darker the area, the more interest there has been in the term over the past five years relative to the total Google search figures in Austria.

Violations according to § 26 & § 28 Addictive Substances Act

In its annual report on narcotic drugs, the Federal Criminal Police Office collects data on confiscated drugs, violations of the Narcotic Drugs Act and drug trade routes. There are many gaps in this data, as some distribution channels, such as the Darknet, are particularly difficult to collect data from. What is certain, however, is that Austria, with its geographical location, is a transit country for drug trafficking. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Balkan route is still the most important trade route for opiates derived from opium poppy. Most people affected by high-risk drug use consume opiates through snorting, inhaling or injecting the substance. Half of the estimated 29,000 to 33,000 people affected live in Vienna. After the capital, most of them come from Vorarlberg, Carinthia and Tyrol.


Found substances overdosing cases.


n 2016, 140 people in Austria were toxicologically found to have died from an overdose. Opiates were the decisive factor in 91 percent of drug-related deaths. It is difficult to tell whether the overdose was related to heroin, morphine, or Substitut - a diminished form of morphine. Notable, however, is the sharp rise of psycho-pharmaceuticals in drug-related deaths. In fact, in 2016, psycho-pharmaceutical substances were detected in more than three quarters of all cases.

Annual expenditure on medicinal products

Total expenditure (Austria, 2016).


sycho-pharmaceuticals intervene in the central nervous system and thus alter mental processes. In this way, psycho-pharmaceutical drugs can normalize metabolic processes in the brain. Painkillers or anti-epileptic drugs also access the nervous system, but are not counted as psycho-pharmaceutical drugs in everyday language. The term is broad; the most common subgroups are sedatives and antidepressants.

Expenditure of the state health insurance funds

The cost of psychotherapy and psycho-pharmaceutical drugs per eligible person (2017, euros).


sycholeptics and psychoanaleptica, are the most sold drug groups in Austria and both are fully financed by the health insurance funds. As regards to psychotherapy, health insurance companies spend far less in all provinces. The system for financing psychotherapy in Austria is not uniform; the regional health insurance funds operate differently depending on the province: some provide a certain number of therapy sessions of 30 to 90 minutes each, others support associations and facilities. According to the Austrian Federal Association for Psychotherapy, only about half of all psychotherapies are paid for in full by the health insurance funds. In 2017, the Austrian regional health insurance funds spent more than twice as much on psycho-pharmaceutical drugs as on psychotherapy per eligible person. Psychotherapy expenditure includes cost subsidies for elective physicians, fully financed health insurance voucher therapies and support for institutions. A unit for elective doctors costs 70 to 150 euros, of which 28 euros are reimbursed by the regional health insurance fund.

In the network of substances

How drugs are connected to each other.


rugs are rarely used alone. This graph is based on over 10,000 postings from German-speaking online forums in which people exchange experiences and information about their drug and medication consumption. We have analyzed 2,000 different terms, slang words and code names for drugs or medications: The more frequently terms are mentioned in the same post, the stronger they are connected and the closer they are to each other. The size of the circle shows how often a substance was mentioned in general.

Drawing High

Where do you feel it?


e talked to people in bars, clubs and addiction centres in Vienna about their experiences with drugs and asked them how they felt. Independently of each other, they drew for us a visual memory. To get the final image, we superimposed five to ten individual drawings per drug.