News in brief

According to the latest statistics from the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL), alcohol consumption in the country dropped significantly last year, with per capita consumption reaching a record low. 

THL also revealed that deaths related to the synthetic psychoactive drug MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, have more than tripled between 2011 and 2017.


Alcohol consumption in Finland decreased during the coronavirus crisis

A new report by THL indicates that total alcohol consumption in the country decreased by an estimated 5.2 per cent in 2020 compared to the previous year due to preventive measures against the COVID-19 virus.

Consumption reduced the most during April–June, when restaurants were temporarily shut and travel restrictions led to a drop in tourism. 

While the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants dropped by 40.6 per cent last year, it grew by 4 per cent in grocery stores. Additionally, sales in Alko stores increased by 12 per cent.

According to THL, the average consumption of alcohol in Finland has been on the decline since 2007. Last year, per capita consumption fell to the lowest it has been since the century began, with Finns over the age of 15 consuming an average of 9.2 litres of alcohol.


Number of deaths linked to ecstasy on the rise   

According to THL, the number of deaths caused by ecstasy in Finland more than tripled between 2011 and 2017. While the drug was linked to 0.09 deaths per one hundred thousand residents in 2011, the number rose to 0.33 in 2017. 

Over half the deaths were the result of a lethal combination of ecstasy and other substances. The drug indirectly contributed to the user’s death (for instance when it led to road accidents) in 30 per cent of cases.

Young men accounted for the highest number of ecstasy-related deaths, with 24 being the average age. 

Pirko Kriikku, forensic toxicologist at THL, believes that the risk of death has been heightened by the high content of pure MDMA in ecstasy pills, which has been increasing every year. 


Tahira Sequeira

Helsinki Times