Sniffer dog Springer on duty at UPS' logistics centre in Vantaa last year. The Finnish Customs has over the past six months confiscated over 3.5 kilos of the extremely dangerous designer drug alpha-PVP, an amount enough for tens of thousands of doses. Previously, only small batches of the new drug have been found in Finland.

The Finnish Customs confiscated six 150—1,000 gram shipments of alpha-PVP last year and three 40—500 gram shipments thus far this year.

In addition to intercepted mail and freight items, alpha-PVP has been smuggled into Finland by passengers in intracorporeal containers and under the clothes.

Mari Sarahete, the senior inspector in charge of the investigation at the Finnish Customs, says that small batches are typically intended for personal use and larger batches for distribution.

According to her, alpha-PVP is manufactured in industrial laboratories in China and is transported to Finland also through other countries. The batches confiscated by the Finnish Customs have been exceptionally pure, whereas the drugs available on the streets are generally adulterated.

“[The drug] may be dangerous for users if they cannot be certain of the potency of the substance. There have also been cases in which substance ordered as alpha-PVP has turned out to be something else entirely,” Sarahete says.

Alpha-PVP is a floury substance similar to amphetamine and the more common designer drug MDPV.

The effects of alpha-PVP are similar to those of MDPV, says Kaarlo Simojoki, a senior physician at the A-Clinic Foundation. The drug can induce psychosis, aggression and strong anxiety. “Reports from abroad indicate that the psychological symptoms have resulted in some accidental deaths,” Simojoki reveals.

The majority of the people caught ordering alpha-PVP to Finland last year were roughly 30 years old, Sarahete reveals. “Some of the people caught had ordered [the drugs] to experiment and had no previous history of drug use. Some of the buyers also use other illegal drugs.”

Minna Passi – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Pekka Sakki / Lehtikuva