Did you know, there is a cruise ship that travels between Stockholm, Sweden, and Finland just to purchase cheap alcohol? In the recent years it has become easier to purchase alcohol in Finland. As a result the number of alcoholics has increased. The addiction to alcohol has affected Finns for many generations, but this health issue is becoming more and more serious. It is possible to recover from an addiction to alcohol, and there are a variety of programs which should be implemented in Finland to assist in the process. Alcoholism can be viewed as the abuse of alcohol. Signs of alcoholism include: the inability to control drinking, craving alcohol, prioritizing drinking instead of responsibilities, drinking too much, and spending a great deal of money on alcohol. Often alcoholism engenders from mental challenges like dealing with stress, the loss of a loved one, and anxiety. The long term physical effects of alcoholism are: brain defects, liver disease, diabetes, heart problems, vision damage, and bone loss (Galbicsek, 2018). Alcoholism is a major health issue in Finland.
Finland has a deep-rooted history involving alcohol. During the 18th century, it was recorded by philosopher Montesquieu that the people of Finland were heavy drinkers (Nybergh, 2016). The idea of prohibition was first introduced by the country of Sweden in 1756 (Nybergh, 2016). Finland adopted prohibition in 1919, this was not effective in all areas of Finland, and drinking ruthlessly continued. The introduction of alcohol to the black market resulted in crime (Nybergh, 2016). In 1931, prohibition of alcohol in Finland was repealed. Over the last four decades alcohol consumption has drastically increased. In 2008, annual alcohol consumption rose 8.5 liters per person (Osterberg, 2009). The types of alcohol consumed was varied over the decades. In 1959, 70 percent of alcohol consumed were spirits (Osterberg, 2009). In 1969, medium-strength beer was introduced in grocery stores which resulted an increased popularity of beer (Osterberg, 2009). Since the 1980’s, the consumption of wine has been steadily increasing. Wine accounted for only 5 percent of alcohol consumption in 1985, this increased to 16 percent in 2008 (Osterberg, 2009).
The types and amount of alcohol consumed in Finland has variety throughout history.
The current status of alcoholism in Finland, is not bright because of the increase of alcohol related deaths. In 2005, the state statistics agency of Finland released statistics revealing that the consumption of alcohol killed more people aged 15 to 64 than cardiovascular disease or cancer (BBC News, 2006). It is difficult to think drinking alcohol is a choice, and a large portion of the Finnish population hurt themselves by choosing to drink alcohol. The current status of the misuse of alcohol shows the need for education about the harms of alcohol. Over the past 20 years alcohol consumption has been steadily rising (BBC News, 2006). It is alarming that more and more alcohol is consumed every year. An increasing portion of the Finnish population is affected negatively by the consequences of drinking alcohol. Approximately 2,000 Finns died of alcohol-related causes in 2005 (BBC News, 2006). The abuse of alcohol is serious, and solution should be applied in the country of Finland to reduce the number of deaths caused by alcohol.
Currently, there are a variety of actions being taken relating to alcoholism in Finland. Mieli is The Finnish Association for Mental Health. This association offers support and help for people addicted to alcohol (Mieli, 2018). Tests and self-help tools are available on the Paihdelinkki website to assist alcoholics. The Finnish government is loosening laws and regulations relating to the sale of alcohol. This is not helpful for Finns struggling with alcoholism. These new laws are making it easier for Finns to obtain stronger alcohol later at night. In 2017, Finland’s parliament voted to change alcohol policies. The changes included, grocery stores now having the ability to sell beer with 5.5 percent alcohol (The World Staff, 2017). The previous policies only permitted grocery stores to sell beer with 4.7 percent alcohol (The World Staff, 2017). Also, restaurants and bars can now stay open later. This change has created a divide in Finland between people who think the new policies will increase rates of alcohol abuse and others who agree with the change (The World Staff, 2017). I believe with new policy should also come the responsibility of government led assistance for reducing alcohol abuse programs.
Alcoholism is growing health issue in Finland, and more action needs to be taken to helped Finns. Outreach programs that visited middle and high schools multiple times a year could educate the youth about how to avoid abusing alcohol. These academic programs could foster a great understanding of alcoholism in the next generation which would in turn reduce the number of alcoholics in the future. It is also important to provide ways to escape and recover from addiction to alcohol for the current population of alcoholics. Numerous locations of help centers for alcoholics throughout Finland’s most populated cities would be beneficial. I think there should be more organizations created by the government to prevent and assist alcoholism.
There is hope for the alcoholism to get better in Finland. Outreach, education, and assistance are tools the country of Finland should apply to one of the biggest health issues. I do not think the addiction to alcohol will be solved, because health issues are a part of being human. As history has displayed, prohibition is not the answer to solving alcoholism. It is difficult to be optimistic when alcoholism is on the rise, but new tools to helped alcoholics recover are simultaneously being put in place.
Alcoholism is a leading health issue in Finland. The history of Alcoholism goes back far in history and has affected many lives. The current status of alcohol abuse in is increasing. This shows that action needs to be taken to reduce the number of people struggling with alcohol. In recent years, policy and legislation passed has loosened restrictions on the sale of higher percentage alcohol content. If outreach programs, help clinics, and organizations are created to assist and prevent alcoholism than this health issue could get better in Finland.
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