Finland gets high as legal and illegal substance use increases

Back in 1992 just 11% of Finns aged 25-32 had tried illegal drugs, now the number is up to 45%.

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File picture of someone buying drugs / Credit: iStock

Up to 45% of Finns aged 25 to 34 have tried some kind of illegal drugs.

That’s one of the findings of a new study published today by the National institute for Health and Welfare THL, which looks at illegal drug use, or using legal drugs for recreational purposes.

The study, which has made in every four years since 1992, highlights that instances of regular drug use, as well as people experimenting with illegal substances, have both increased evenly in recent years.

Drug use among people aged 25 to 34 has always been among the highest in previous THL surveys, but this latest study shows that it’s reached a new peak with up to 45% of people having tried some illegal drugs in their lives. By comparison, the figure was just 11% back in 1992.

Looking at all age groups from 15 to 69, the number of people who tried illegal drugs has grown from just 6% to 24% in the last 26 years.

“As drug experimentation and regular use keep increasing, various problems that drug users suffer from are also likely to increase. New ways, practices and strategies for managing the situation are urgently needed” says Research Professor Pekka Hakkarainen from THL.

Experts are also concerned about the number of teens who experiment with drugs.

“The use and prevalence of young drug users is understandably worrying. However, the results of the drug study show a positive signal that the use of the youngest age group would not have become more common after 2014” says THL Research Specialist Karoliina Karjalainen.

According to the research cannabis is the most popular drug. In 1992 just 6% of people had tried it but in 2018 that figure had risen to 24%.

The second most popular category for drug use is prescription medications, which are not taken for the purposes the were prescribed.

Other drugs such as ecstasy and amphetamines have been tried by less than 5% of the population.