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  • Lauri Beekmann

Survey: Parliamentary candidates would increase funding for drug harm prevention

30.03.2023 - Parliamentary candidates from all parliamentary parties would be willing to increase funding for substance harm prevention, according to a survey targeted at them. Candidates also strongly support the improvement of services aimed at those with substance abuse issues. The information is based on a survey commissioned by EHYT ry and conducted by Aula Research.

Preventive substance abuse work is hoped to bring savings to social and health services Nine out of ten (91%) candidates who responded to the survey believe that more funding should be allocated to preventive substance abuse work carried out in municipalities and welfare regions during the next government term.

A clear majority of candidates from all parliamentary parties supported increasing funding. The Left Alliance (100%), the Greens (95%), and the Centre Party (93%) were the strongest advocates for increasing funding. Other parties also supported financing preventive substance abuse work: the Christian Democrats (92%), the Swedish People's Party (91%), the Social Democrats (90%), and the National Coalition Party (79%).

The potential savings in social and health costs for welfare regions resulting from preventive substance abuse work were highlighted in the survey responses.

"The importance of preventive work is emphasized even more now that the newly established welfare regions are struggling with cost pressures. Preventing drug-related harms is considerably more cost-effective than addressing problems that have already arisen. Now we need commitment and resources to maintain structures and continue the strategies already chosen," says Juha Mikkonen, Executive Director of Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention EHYT ry.

Preventive substance abuse work aims to reduce the demand for and availability of drugs, as well as the harms resulting from drug use. Drug use significantly affects people's health and well-being. For example, alcohol and tobacco are known to be associated with numerous diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

More support for relatives Drug-related harms do not only affect the individual using drugs but also their close ones. Based on the survey, candidates would like to provide more support for the relatives and close ones of people suffering from substance abuse problems. A clear majority, i.e., 84% of respondents, believe that more resources should be allocated to support and services aimed at the relatives and close ones of people with substance abuse problems during the next government term.

Voters on the same lines with candidates According to a citizen survey conducted by research institute Kantar Public last autumn, voters consider alcohol-related drug harms to be a significant societal problem. Citizens are concerned about the family and intimate partner violence (90%) and problems in families with children (88%) caused by alcohol. The most important task of alcohol policy, according to the survey, is to protect children and young people from alcohol-related harms (91%).

"The success of politics is measured by the kind of world it builds for future generations. Substance abuse policy is a complex field, but its task is quite simple: promoting the well-being of people – you, me, and us – by preventing and reducing harms," says Mikkonen.

A total of 349 candidates from the parliamentary election parties responded to the survey commissioned by EHYT ry and conducted by Aula Research. The survey sample was collected between January 19 and February 9, 2023, using an electronic questionnaire and telephone interviews, with a response rate of 33%.

Source: EHYT ry

The parliamentary elections will be held in Finland on 2 April 2023
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