Finland first placed an emphasis on drug-related research in the 1990s, as experimentation with and use of drugs and their related harms were increasing. In the last 15 years, drug-related research has evolved from taking a global approach and setting up the basic indicators for monitoring the drug situation to detailed research based on the development of the drug situation. The economic recession that occurred in Finland in the last decade impacted negatively on the resources available for research. The current Government Resolution on Drug Policy 2016-19 does not identify specific research priorities. Nevertheless, the current policy guidelines include a section on information, data collection and research.
The leading participants in this area include the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and several university departments. The state budget and the Academy of Finland are their main funding sources. The Helsinki Office of the Nordic Welfare Centre also plays an important role in promoting and supporting research cooperation among Nordic countries. The main channels for disseminating research findings are the THL website, scientific journals (both national and international) and thematic internet portals.
Many recent drug-related studies have been based on regular data collection and monitoring, implementing population-based surveys to analyse drug use and its consequences, including population surveys and toxicological analysis and particularly post-mortem toxicology. Research on the characteristics and consequences of polydrug use has also been implemented, and in recent years wastewater studies have emerged.