An article in Finnish newspaper Helsingen Sanomat has looked at the question of how, despite a fall in overall consumption in recent years, the number of deaths from alcohol abuse in Finland has increased.
The article explains that there has been a significant amount of research done into the issue of alcohol use in both Finland and Sweden, much of which has been used to “guide and justify” alcohol policy not only in those nations, but in the European Union as well. In general, those who have investigated the subject tend to be advocates of greater restrictions on the accessibility of alcohol. This is a clear difference to those researching drug abuse, who instead tend to be supporters of more liberal policies.
A report published last week by THL has shown that despite a fall in overall consumption, the number of deaths caused by alcohol had increased in 2019-2020. This was accompanied by an increase in liver diseases among men. The article does warn against making too many conclusions from this one report, and adds that any analysis of data from the past years will be complicated by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on people’s lives.
However, the recent results provide a challenge to the assumptions of researchers that by bringing down the overall consumption of alcohol, there would therefore be lower deaths from it. Professor Pia Makela points to the fact that alcoholic diseases do not develop in an instant, and therefore the cause must be something that has happened in recent years that has made people who already drink, drink a lot more. One possibility that needs further research could be the impact of the transition to remote work on these tendencies.
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