Finland is debating the opening of its first drug consumption room to respond to high overdose death rates. Tuukka Tammi, a top researcher in the drug field in Finland, says restrictive drug laws should be reformed as well.  

Drugreporter: The Finnish education system is celebrated as one of the best in the world. Does it apply to drug education too? I mean, do you think drug prevention is as good in Finland as public education in general?

Tuukka Tammi: It is true that Finnish teenagers have had excellent results in PISA studies, but on the other hand we have had one of the widest learning gaps between boys and girls in the same studies. So not everyone gets good results, and here we can see an analogy with the fact that some people are marginalised despite being a generally ‘good’ society, welfare state, or education system.

Talking specifically about our drug education system, I think its basic principle is right: we recommend that drug education is linked to normal classroom teaching and integrated into compulsory health education. Our national prevention programme also emphasises an integrated approach: drugs should be dealt with alongside alcohol, tobacco, and gambling issues. I don’t think we need separate, manualised, school-based drug prevention programmes. However, the schools may decide for themselves and they are not systematically monitored, so I am afraid all kinds of oddities may occur in reality. So to answer your question: unfortunately we are not perfect in this respect either.