Cocaine use has become more commonplace in Finland, reports Helsingin Sanomat.
The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on Wednesday revealed that its analyses of the levels of illicit drugs and their metabolites in wastewater indicate that cocaine use has increased rapidly over the past five years especially in larger cities in Southern Finland.
“Cocaine use more than doubled in Finland between the years 2012 and 2017. In this respect, the use has become a bit more European,” Teemu Gunnar, the head of forensic toxicology at THL, commented to Helsingin Sanomat.
Amphetamine and methamphetamine use, by contrast, has decreased after peaking in 2016 according to the analyses conducted last spring in Espoo, Helsinki, Tampere and Turku as part of an annual wastewater study undertaken by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
Aino Kankaanpää, a development manager at THL, reminds in a press release that the use of methamphetamine increased sharply and unexpectedly especially in the capital region but also in other cities in Finland in 2016.
“The use tapered off in 2017 compared to the record highs of 2016, but it remains at a considerably higher level than before,” she tells.
The wastewater analyses also show that the use of ecstasy decreased in Espoo, Helsinki and Turku but increased – relatively sharply – in Tampere between 2016 and 2017.
Helsingin Sanomat points out that cocaine is the only drug included in the wastewater study the use of which increased in each of the four cities in Finland. Despite the noticeable increase, cocaine use remains considerably less common in Finland than in, for example, Central or Southern Europe.
The assessments found that nearly 30 milligrams of cocaine is used per 1,000 residents a day in Helsinki. The corresponding amount, however, stands at 90 milligrams in Oslo, 215 milligrams in Stuttgart, 370 milligrams in Brussels, 730 milligrams in Amsterdam and 965 milligrams in Barcelona.
Amphetamine, on the other hand, was the only drug the use of which decreased in each of Espoo, Helsinki, Tampere and Turku, according to the wastewater analyses carried out by THL.
“Finland’s drug situation is more similar to the situation in eastern rather than in central or western Europe,” summarises Kankaanpää.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Antti-Aimo Koivisto – Lehtikuva