Slight improvement in drug abuse levels
The situation of drug abuse in Finland is reckoned to be relatively good by international comparison, according to a recent assessment by the ministry’s coordination group responsible for national drug policy.
The extent of drug abuse has declined slightly in the last five years but experimental use and the numbers of people seeking treatment have risen. Drug related deaths and diseases have also dropped, as have the numbers of drug related crimes that have come to the attention of the police. The spread of infectious diseases by intravenous drug use has also declined.
But the coordination group warns that the situation is volatile and needs constant monitoring. Overall, drug abuse has increased during last decade, a situation compounded by rising alcohol use. There are 16,000 - 21,000 people with drug problems in Finland, some 4,000 - 6,000 of them addicted to hard drugs.
The group emphasises the need for more attention to preventing drug abuse problems in Finland’s neighbouring areas, particularly north-west Russia where HIV is extensive among drug addicts and needs urgent action.