Help with substance abuse problems
Nearly all treatment related to alcohol, drug or medicine abuse is based on the voluntary consent of the care recipient. The treatment is always confidential.
You can book an appointment at a health centre, municipal substance abuse services, such as an A-Clinic or a substance abuse clinic, occupational health care services or private services for substance abusers. You will usually need to be referred to inpatient treatment.
If you are at school or studying, contact your school health nurse, student health care provider or municipal youth services, such as a youth station.
You can also ask for advice by calling the National Crisis Hotline or the telephone service of the EHYT Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention. You can also search for instructions online at the websites of Mentalhub or the A-Clinic Foundation.
If you are worried about the situation of an intoxicated person, you should directly contact the emergency response centre.
A large amount of alcohol can lead to the paralysis of bodily functions. Nausea and vomiting can predict alcohol poisoning, as the body is attempting to remove alcohol from the stomach. The person's control of their thinking, speech, movement and balance is reduced and they can no longer take care of themselves. The person loses consciousness.
You must attempt to wake up a person who has passed out and try and find out how much alcohol they have drunk by asking the person or those who have spent time with them. If you suspect alcohol poisoning, contact health care emergency services or the emergency response centre, as alcohol poisoning is always life-threatening. You must not leave a passed out person alone.
You can find out for your family member or friend what kind of substance abuse treatment is available for them and make it as easy as possible for them to seek treatment.
As a parent, you are responsible for the alcohol, drug or medicine abuse of your under-aged child. Intervene in the situation as early as possible. Every municipality must refer the young person to services that can help them. Some municipalities offer substance abuse services especially aimed at young people.
The loved ones of substance abusers can also get counselling to support their personal coping. For example, your municipality's substance abuse services or different organisations offer counselling.
A person may be ordered to undergo treatment if they behave violently, if there is an immediate risk to their life or if their substance use is seriously endangering their health. A person may be committed to treatment based on a health hazard for the maximum of five days. Involuntary treatment measures are rare.
Substance abuse rehabilitation is arranged as outpatient and inpatient care. Detoxification and rehabilitation aim at stopping substance abuse and helping the patient with their withdrawal symptoms. Social support and psychosocial treatment and rehabilitation is provided in addition to the detoxification and rehabilitation. Sometimes simply sorting out the person's situation will bring sufficient help. Issues related to the person's housing and income are discussed.
If the services provided in outpatient care are not enough, the treatment or rehabilitation is continued as inpatient care or rehabilitation. Detoxification can take place in outpatient care or an inpatient facility. Detoxification typically takes between a few days to a week or two.
You must receive first aid and urgent care immediately. In non-urgent cases, you must receive care in primary health care within three months.
Every resident of Finland is entitled to access the services organised by the municipality. The costs for inpatient treatment are paid for by your employer, municipality or you personally. If you use private services for substance abusers, you will personally pay the costs.
AA groups, A Guilds and NA groups provide peer support to substance abuse rehabilitation patients. There are hundreds of different AA groups in Finland. The most important goal of the group members is to achieve sobriety and help others in achieving theirs. AA has a national helpline and many local telephone lines.
A Guilds provide peer support and intoxicant-free activities in local communities and generally carry out collaboration with the social and health services at the municipalities.
NA, or Narcotics Anonymous, is an association that provides groups in which those who wish to give up drugs can meet and offer peer support to one another. NA is not affiliated with the authorities or health care professionals. The association organises meetings in all large towns and has a helpline.
Al-Anon and Alateen provide peer support for those suffering from the alcohol use of their loved one. The Al-Anon groups are intended for the families and friends of those with alcohol problems. Alateen is a peer support organisation connected to Al-Anon that is particularly aimed at young people aged 10–20.
Peer support is also available online for both substance abusers and their family and friends, for example on the Addictionlink.fi website.