Finland is not a prime target for drug trafficking; however, the drug trade is dominated by organised crime groups (such as organised motorcycle gangs) with strong international connections to the neighbouring countries of Estonia and Lithuania.
Synthetic stimulants (amphetamines and MDMA) originating in western Europe are brought into the country via Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden and, sometimes, Russia. Cannabis resin mainly originates in Morocco, reaching the Finnish market from central or eastern Europe. The availability of heroin in the market plummeted after 2001, and heroin was replaced by buprenorphine-based opioid substitution medications. In recent years, these medications have usually originated from Lithuania, France and Norway.
The increased availability of NPS is one of the emerging trends on the Finnish drug scene, and they are usually ordered online from abroad. In 2010, for the first time, police discovered a local production site of synthetic drugs; the quantity of meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP) tablets
seized indicated that the production was intended for export. NPS are mainly imported via mail or express cargo services. In recent years, concerns over an increase in the domestic cultivation of cannabis have been expressed.
The Finnish drug market is stable, with cannabis products remaining the most commonly seized by the law enforcement agencies, while amphetamines, MDMA and other synthetic psychoactive substances and narcotic pharmaceuticals remain important. In general, the volumes of seizures fluctuate from one year to next and are affected by the priority of law enforcement agencies in addressing large-scale smuggling. In 2015, a record amount of amphetamine was seized. Heroin has been largely replaced by illegally obtained Subutex (buprenorphine) and, in 2015, almost 43 000 Subutex (buprenorphine) tablets were seized in Finland.
The retail price and purity of the main illicit substances seized are shown below.
Drug seizures in Finland: trends in number of seizures (left) and quantities seized (right)
NBYear of data 2013 for number of seizures, 2015 for quantities seized.
Price and potency/purity ranges of illicit drugs reported in Finland
NBPrice and potency/purity ranges: EU and national mean values: minimum and maximum.
Year of data 2015.