Finland Country Drug Report 2019

Drug markets

The Finnish drug market is stable, with cannabis products remaining the illicit drugs most commonly seized by the law enforcement agencies, while amphetamines, MDMA/ecstasy and other synthetic psychoactive substances and misused pharmaceuticals remain important.

In general, the volumes of seizures fluctuate from one year to the next and are affected by the priorities of law enforcement agencies in addressing large-scale smuggling. Cannabis resin mainly originates in Morocco, reaching the Finnish market from Central or Eastern Europe. In recent years, concerns over an increase in the domestic cultivation of cannabis have been expressed.

The availability of heroin in the market plummeted after 2001, and heroin was replaced by buprenorphine-based opioid substitution medications, typically originating from Lithuania and France. In 2017, almost 25 000 Subutex (buprenorphine) tablets were seized in Finland. Synthetic drugs (amphetamines and MDMA) originating in Western Europe are brought into the country via Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden and, sometimes, Russia. Since 2016, a reportedly rising threat is the trafficking of counterfeit Rivotril from Central Europe to Finland and other Nordic countries. Rivotril belongs to the class of benzodiazepines that includes clonazepam, and is classified as a narcotic substance in Finland.

The increased availability of new psychoactive substances is one of the emerging trends on the Finnish drug scene, and they are usually ordered online from abroad.

Furthermore, seizures of cocaine have been increasing to some extent in recent years. Compared with other Nordic countries, the supply and use of cocaine and cocaine’s share of the Finnish illegal drug market are still relatively low. International outlaw motorcycle gangs, with the cooperation of indigenous gangs, play a significant role in the supply of cocaine in Finland, among their other illegal drugs businesses.

Drug trafficking is combated through close cooperation between the Finnish Police, Customs and the Border Guard, aiming to seize drugs at the border. Control of the distribution of drugs and pharmaceuticals classified as drugs at the street level is part of the basic operations of the police. Other priorities include uncovering drug-related crime, such as money laundering, and recovering criminal proceeds.

Data on the retail price and purity of the main illicit substances seized are shown in the ‘Key statistics’ section.

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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.