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Up to 50,000 Finns May Have Taken Sports Doping Substances

Little is known about the use of sports doping substances in Finland, but the Ministry of Education has launched an investigation into the matter. Estimates are that up to two percent of Finnish men may have used a doping substance sometime in their lives. This would amount to more than 50,000 Finns.

Lääkeruisku kädessä.
Lääkeruisku kädessä. Image: Juha-Pekka Inkinen / YLE

According to an article in Sunnuntaisuomalainen, a Sunday supplement of a number of Finnish provincial newspapers, the ministry wants to launch a counselling service, where users of doping substances can anonymously ask for professional help form a health care worker.

Other Nordic Countries already have such a service. Sweden’s service has operated for 15 years. The use of performance-enhancing hormones and other substances by amateur athletes is seen to be a serious public health problem.

The typical Finnish user of doping substances is a young man working out at a gym hoping to increase muscle mass. A few months using anabolic steroids can help add muscle that might take years of training to acquire, even though the impact on health can be serious.

In addition, users of doping substances are more likely than others to use illegal intoxicants. Researcher Mikko Salasuo, who is conducting the study for the Ministry of Education, says that the increase in the use of doping by amateur athletes reflects a change in attitude toward chemical manipulation of the body.

Possession and use of doping substances is not a crime under Finnish law.

Finland’s Minister of Sport and Cuilture Stefan Wallin is not enthusiastic about the criminalisation of sports doping substances, because he feels that the law would be difficult to enforce. However, he would like to see new initiatives to keep doping substances out of Finnish gyms.

Sources: YLE

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