Most people in Finland aged under 35 know someone who uses drugs.
That’s the startling finding of a survey carried out by the Finnish Institute for Health and Wellness THL which also finds that more than a third of Finns have been offered drugs for use or purchase.
“Drugs have become an increasingly well-known phenomenon in Finnish society” says research professor Pekka Hakkarainen from THL.
“More and more people have a personal connection to drugs directly themselves, or through the experiences of people they know” he explains.
According to Hakkarainen that familiarity with drugs in Finnish society means people are now less afraid of drug users, and this is reflected in the statistics as well.
In the latest 2018 drugs study 19% of respondents feared being subjected to violence because of other people’s drugs use. That’s down from 40% at the beginning of the millennium.
Changing attitudes to drug problems
The THL survey, which has been repeated every four years since 1992, questioned 3229 Finns aged between 15 and 69.
It found that 79% of people support establishing services like health counseling points for drugs users; while 65% approved the use of substitute drugs to treat opioid dependence.
More radical measures to help reduce drug use like ‘safe rooms’ where users can go to get clean needles and take drugs in a safer environment, are supported by only around 50% of the population. But Professor Hakkarainen says that “Finns also seem ready to adopt new measures to reduce drug harm.”
Almost everyone who took part in the survey – 90% – approved workplace drug testing.
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