Finland Country Drug Report 2019

National drug strategy and coordination

National drug strategy

The 1997 National Drugs Strategy sets the principles and objectives of Finland’s drug policy, and subsequent government resolutions have outlined actions for specific periods. Following resolutions for the periods 2004-07, 2008-11 and 2012-15, a new resolution covers the period 2016-19. This is focused primarily on illicit drugs and covers five themes: (i) national coordination of drug policy; (ii) prevention and early intervention; (iii) addressing drug-related crime; (iv) drug treatment and harm reduction; and (v) EU drug policy and international cooperation. Alongside the Government Resolution on Drug Policy (2016-19), Finland has a separate Action Plan on Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs and Gambling Prevention, which was launched in December 2015.

Like other European countries, Finland evaluates its drug policy and strategy through on-going indicator monitoring and specific research projects. In 2016, the National Drug Policy Coordination Group completed the evaluation of the Government Resolution on the Action Plan to Reduce Drug Use and Related Harm 2012-15. It reviewed the implementation of the action plan and the drug situation and made recommendations for the development of the 2016-19 action plan. Final implementation reviews of the 2004-07 and 2008-11 action plans were also undertaken.


National coordination mechanisms

In Finland, the National Drug Policy Coordination Group is responsible for interministerial coordination. It is attached to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and is composed of representatives from all relevant ministries involved in the area of drug use. The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) supports the Coordination Group and is a research and development institute under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The THL develops and directs drug prevention and is responsible for strategic and operational coordination on drug issues nationally in cooperation with other authorities. Each municipality should have a substance use worker who coordinates local actions, mainly in the field of prevention. These substance use workers are coordinated by provincial governments, which are guided by the THL. Provincial governments have cross-sectoral working groups for alcohol and drug issues, which coordinate and supervise the implementation of actions by the municipalities.

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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.