Drug overdoses are a major cause of mortality for drug users and, in many countries, are the leading cause of death in this group. The aim of the present study is to explore the frequency of all drug related deaths in the Split-Dalmatia County in the period between 1997 and 2007 and to analyze some of the characteristics of these deaths to help target preventive policies. The data on drug related deaths were collected using records from the Department of Forensic Medicine, Clinical Hospital Centre Split, University of Split, School of Medicine. There were 190 drug related deaths in the observed period of 11 years. Statistically significant difference (p = 0.004, chi2-test for trend) was found in the number of deaths in 1997 in comparison with the number of deaths in 2007. The majority of 105 (55%) the decedents were 25-34 years old, and 92.1% (175) of them were male. There was a 94% higher probability of mortality in the 25-34 years group (chi2 = 5.55, p = 0.064). Average age of all dead people was 31.01 +/- 7.59 years (median 31.0 years; range 18-49). Almost three quarters of the decedents were single and more than three fifths hadn't been employed. The most common location of death was at home. Approximately, 80% were autopsied followed by full histological and toxicological analyses. Out of all examined cases, the majority of drug related deaths (93 or 60.8%) were attributed to heroin. Heroin was the sole cause of death in 35 (22.9%) cases. Methadone was cause of death in 24 (15.7%) cases. 3.4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) deaths were rare (3.3%). Cocaine deaths were also rare (1.3%). Three fifths (55.6%) of the cases involved includes multi-substance use. During the investigation there was an evident trend towards multi-substance abuse patterns. These data suggest that interventions to prevent drug related mortality should address the use of drugs such as heroin and alcohol in combination.