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Drug deaths hit record high in 2021

Statistics Finland's annual mortality figures also showed that some 950 people died of Covid last year.

Blood circulation illnesses topped the 2021 death cause stats with some 19,000 deaths. Image: Marja Väänänen / Yle
Yle News

Substance abuse led to the deaths of some 287 people during 2021, the highest toll recorded by Statistics Finland since monitoring began in 2006. Accidental overdosing claimed the most lives, with long-term use coming in second.

The surge in drug overdose deaths in recent years sparked some debate among politicians last summer with fixes including supervised drug consumption sites and decriminalisation sharply dividing Finland's parliamentary parties.

Rise in Covid-19 and Alzheimer's deaths

Overall mortality in Finland increased by 1.4 percent during 2021 compared to the previous year. Memory-related illnesses and Covid-19 were among the causes of death that saw the biggest increase in deaths. Covid-19 was recorded as the cause of death for 952 people, accounting for around 2 percent of the annual death toll.

Covid was also a contributing cause to the deaths of over 200 people, according to Statistics Finland's figures. This means that the patients had been diagnosed with the virus prior to their passing, but the main cause of death was registered as some other illness or condition.

"Nearly 40 percent of them had cardiovascular disease as the underlying cause of death and around 45 percent had memory problems or cancer," senior statistician at the agency Airi Pajunen said.

Additionally some six people died from severe reactions to a Covid vaccine. The youngest to die belonged to the 20-24 age group and the oldest to the 90-94 demographic.

Illnesses relating to blood circulation decreased slightly, still claiming the most lives however, some 19,000, which is 300 more than the previous year. Such illnesses commonly include heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

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