Finland Country Drug Report 2018

Quality assurance

In Finland, quality assurance-related objectives can be found in both government resolutions and instructions and in recommendations on substance use prevention and harm reduction. The national drug policy coordination group annually assesses the measures taken and the drug situation. The effectiveness of individual measures, such as health promotion or preventive projects, has been assessed, but a broad overall assessment has not been made owing to a lack of resources.

The development and implementation of demand reduction activities is guided by many types of instructions and recommendations, including guidelines on quality criteria for substance use prevention and quality recommendations for substance use services. It is planned to publish quality guidelines for low-threshold service centres, namely needle exchange programmes, in 2018.

The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is a research and development institute under the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The institute develops and directs drug prevention and coordinates drug policy throughout the country in cooperation with other authorities. It also disseminates best practices in the field but does not have a mandate to regulate municipalities or service providers. THL maintains a regional developer network for substance abuse and disseminates best practices in the field.

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) issues permits for the operation of inpatient facilities and for healthcare professionals; however, this accreditation is not specific to certain kind of clients or programmes.

Substance and drug use topics and harm reduction are part of the qualifications curriculum for many professionals and are also addressed in continuing education.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.