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Subutex abuse highest in Finland

The abuse of Subutex, a medication used to treat opiate addiction, has increased faster in Finland than elsewhere in Europe.

Subutex-liuskoja.
Buprenorphine, sold in Finland as Subutex or Suboxone. Image: Yle

According to research currently being carried out by the University of Eastern Finland, Subutex now tops the list of narcotic substances used in Finland. The active ingredient of Subutex is buprenorphine hydrochloride, which is also used as a painkiller.

The average age of a Subutex user is around 25 years. Around half of all users are employed.

Abuse of Subutex, designed to treat opiate addiction, has become common in Finland since the turn of the century.

Meanwhile the popularity of heroin has decreased.

U.S. military action in Afghanistan, which resulted in a decline in the availability of heroin, is cited as one reason for the change.

The research findings are based on a survey of 5,000 substance abusers who have sought treatment in 1998–2008.

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