Minister of Family and Social Affairs Aki Lindén (SDP) said that he does not believe that controlled drug consumption facilities are the answer to the increase in drug-related deaths in Finland.
Lindén told Yle that even if the experiment of such facilities could provide valuable information, it would probably require the preparation of legislation in collaboration with several ministries.
This would also include clarifying the criminal aspects of drug use, supply and distribution, the minister added.
"This kind of legislative preparation takes time. In addition, drug use services are not a solution to a serious drug problem. The focus should be on prevention, access to treatment and increasing cooperation between authorities," Lindén said.
In drug consumption facilities, drug users were allowed to use illegal substances under the supervision of a healthcare worker. According to Yle’s July report, Finnish drug users would like to have such rooms available. Even MPs familiar with substance abuse issues have expressed mixed support for the introduction of such facilities.
In January of this year, the Department of Health and Welfare (THL) announced that these types of facilities would be one of the recommended ways to reduce drug-related deaths.
In 2019, the city of Helsinki proposed to the government the introduction of legislation enabling the trial of drug use rooms. However, the matter did not progress at the government level.
Drug deaths have increased in Finland
Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Sarkkinen (left) told Yle that the Left Alliance supports the legalization of controlled drug use facilities.
"It is hoped that such rooms will reduce harm and drug-related deaths. At the same time, the harm caused to other people by using drugs in public places could be reduced," Sarkkinen said.
In Finland, drug-related deaths have increased throughout the 2000s. According to Statistics Finland, in 2020, 258 people died of drug-related causes in Finland.
Compared to the rest of the European Union and Norway and Turkey, Finland has the highest number of drug-related deaths among people under the age of 25. Last European Drug Report.
Source: The Nordic Page