Other drugs

Drugs are illegal substances, and they are used to an increasing extent in Finland.

Stay safe text on a fence
Photo: Minna Lehtinen / EHYT ry

Drugs include cannabis products, substances that incapacitate the central nervous system (such as heroin), stimulants (such as amphetamine) and hallucinogens that cause strong sensory effects (such as LSD). Read more about drugs in AddictionLink substance-specific summaries.

The use of drugs has increased in Finland. The main area of increase is the experimentation and use of cannabis products but the use of stimulants has also increased somewhat. Read more about cannabis. It is estimated that approximately one per cent of 15–64-year-old Finns have problems associated with the use of amphetamine and opioids.

Drugs have significant negative effects on health. For instance, cannabis use may create, to some extent, an addiction but it leads especially to various psychological or psychotic symptoms that require treatment.  Typical consequences of opioid use include hallucinations, delirium and the deterioration of motoric or cognitive functions.  Unclean needles expose the user to infectious diseases.

Combined use of drugs, medicines and alcohol significantly increases the risk of death. In 2018, there were altogether 261 drug-related deaths in Finland.

Pursuant to the Act on the Welfare of Substance Abusers, municipalities must organise welfare services for substance abusers, their families and other persons close to them. Typically, substance abuse welfare services consist of non-institutional care, institutional detoxification or addiction treatment, institutional rehabilitation, support services and peer support activities.

Prevention is always the most effective and cost-efficient way to reduce the harm caused by substance abuse. In the prevention of the harm caused by drug abuse, it is important to train professionals and volunteers in different fields on bringing the subject into conversation and directing users to support services. 

If you need help, you can contact health centres, student health services or occupational healthcare, for instance. Substance abuse treatment services, such as addiction treatment, sobering facilities, institutional or non-institutional rehabilitation or substitution treatment, are accessed through your municipality’s substance abuse services. You can find more information on your municipality’s website.

Health counselling centres offer clean injection equipment, health guidance, testing of sexually transmitted diseases, wound dressing services, vaccinations and physician’s services. They can also help you arrange matters related to rehabilitation and detoxification. Clean injection equipment is also available in most pharmacies in Finland.

Here you can find a list of health counselling centres that offer health guidance and free, clean equipment for intravenous drug users.