Party lines divide support for drug use rooms

Party lines divide support for drug use rooms

The attitude towards the establishment of drug consumption facilities varies greatly between Finnish parties, stated the Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) in a recent survey.

At the beginning of July, the health agency announced that overdose deaths are on the rise in Finland, which rekindles the debate on methods to combat drug abuse. Between 2015 and 2020, accidental drug doses almost doubled, according to Statistics Finland.

The three government parties – the Left Alliance, Vihreä and RKP – all supported controlled drug use rooms in THL’s email survey. The position of the Prime Minister’s Social Democrats and the opposition party Kokoomus was more cautious in the THL opinion poll.

A good policy is “humane, efficient and harm-reducing”

Minister of Education Lee AnderssonThe Left Alliance has demanded new legislation to legalize the move and expressed its support for implementing the practice outside the capital.

"Consumption rooms increase the safety of both users and other people. The facilities can help increase user awareness of available services and reduce overdoses, drug poisoning deaths and street drug use," the party’s statement reads.

The Left Alliance said in June that drug abuse in general should be dealt with through social and health policy, not the legal system, and called for the decriminalization of drug use.

"A good substance abuse policy is humane, effective and reduces harm. The evidence for the rooms is comprehensive, and for example THL has expressed its support for operating theaters," The Greens write in their own answer. Minister of the Environment Maria OhisaloThe Greens were the first party in Finland to demand the legalization of cannabis in September of last year.

In the meantime, the Swedish People’s Party has demanded the introduction of supervised facilities only if applied research (supported by the national working group) supports the change.

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The rooms might be worth exploring

Although the Social Democratic Party was concerned, they would at least like the method to be investigated.

"It is important to have a more accurate knowledge base on how controlled consumption rooms would work and what effects they could have in Finland," according to the party’s statement on the matter.

The coalition followed the same line.

"The NCP has stated that it would be reasonable to assess the effects of drug rooms on the basis of existing international empirical data." Petteri OrpoThe party said, adding that the investigations require extensive cooperation between the city and health authorities.

Funds are better used for prevention

Some parties, meanwhile, say they are not convinced that the use rooms are an effective way to combat drug abuse.

The opposition Christian Democrats fear that facilities that constitute drug use will be more “acceptable”, while the Fundamental Finns said the measure could even make drug abuse worse. Movement Now said public funds would be better spent elsewhere on prevention.

THL said that government partner Keskusta has not given the agency an explanation of its opposition to the concept.

Source: The Nordic Page




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