Drugs in Helsinki: Increase in multi-substance abuse recorded
A typical user of illicit drugs in Helsinki is that of a man in his thirties living on public assistance, who spends more than EUR 500 a month on illegal substances.
The A-Clinic foundation recently conducted a study involving interviews with 100 drug users in Helsinki.
“A drug abuser is often someone with multiple problems, and drugs are just part of the whole”, says Tuukka Tammi, head of research at the foundation.
Seven out of ten of users are male, eight out of ten are unemployed, and more than 70 per cent are living on social benefits.
One out of four lived either in a shelter or were homeless, and in terms of age nearly 90% are under the age of 40 and 61% between the ages of 20 and 29.
One central finding emerging from the study is that the mixed use of pharmaceutical drugs and alcohol is becoming more common, as the number of users who focus on a single drug of choice declines.
“The traditional image of the user of one drug, such as that of a heroin user using only heroin, is wrong. The reality involves a fairly chaotic mixed use”, Tammi says.
The story of one user interviewed by Helsingin Sanomat differs from the general stereotype.
The woman is a regular user of amphetamines, but the drug does not dominate her entire life.
The woman, “Christina”, first started using at the age of 37.
She is now 48, continues to hold down a steady job, and has agreed with her daughter that she will always be sober when meeting her grandchildren.
A more extensive account of “Christina’s” story will be included in our weekly features on Tuesday.