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EU report: Finland's illegal drug use increased over past decade

The use of all major illegal drugs by adults in Finland has gone up over the past 10 years, according to an EU report.

Lasinen kannabispiippu jota piteklee naisen käsi
File photo of cannabis pipe. Image: Mika Kanerva / Yle

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction released a comprehensive report on drug use statistics on Friday. The most commonly-used illegal drug in Finland - and across the EU - is cannabis.

Cannabis is most used by the younger set, those aged 15-34 years, according to the report. The most popular types of stimulants Finnish residents use are amphetamines and MDMA (ecstasy), which are most popular among 25-34 year olds.

According to the report nearly 18 percent of males aged 15-34 had reported using cannabis in the past year, while nine percent of females said they used the substance during that time.

Cocaine use is up slightly in that age bracket, but only one percent said they had used the stimulant in the past year. However some 2.5 percent of 15-34 year-olds had used MDMA in the past year, while 2.4 percent had used amphetamines.

Drug use by Finland's minors just below European average

Data on the use of illegal drugs by those aged 15-16 was taken from data included in the 2015 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD). The survey measured the substance usage of residents from 35 European countries.

The figures showed that lifetime usage of cannabis, other drugs excluding cannabis and other psychoactive substances in Finland were below ESPAD averages.

And, the report's authors state, in contrast to a trend of increased use of cannabis by adults, the 15-16 year-olds' use of the drug decreased during the period of 2011-15.

Youth alcohol use, abuse

In Finland and across Europe, alcohol remains by far the most popular mind-altering substance used by 15-16 year-olds. About one-third of that age group reported using alcohol in the past 30 days.

However, just over one-fifth of the younger demographic had participated in "heavy drinking" in the past 30 days.

The overall ESPAD averages for alcohol use were significantly higher.

Some 48 percent of ESPAD countries' youths had used alcohol in the past 30 days, while 35 percent partook in "heavy drinking."

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