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Drug Enforcement

Narcotics abuse and trafficking were relatively small problems, ranking below other social problems, such as alcohol abuse. The narcotics units of the KPR were responsible for overseeing drug enforcement throughout the country. Altogether, there were about 150 officers working in drug enforcement, half of whom were attached to the Helsinki police. Drug seizures by police numbered 200 to 300 annually, but they accounted for only about 3 percent of the drugs consumed in the country. About half of the seizures consisted of heroin. Police estimated that more than 60 percent of all illicit narcotics entering Finland in the late 1980s had originated in Denmark. The most common carriers were returning Finnish workers living outside the country, particularly in Sweden.

Finnish laws prohibited the use, the possession, and the sale of any drugs that were not approved pharmaceutical products, and the laws dealt severely with all drug-related offenses. No formal distinction was made regarding the quantity or the potency of drugs involved or regarding whether possession was for personal use or for sale. In practice, courts assessed penalties according to the type of drug; first offenders, possessing drugs for personal use alone, usually received probation and/or a fine. The annual number of sentences for narcotics offenses ranged from 369 in 1981 to 1,070 in 1985. Nearly half of these cases involved only drug use, the principal drug (73 percent of offenses) being marijuana. Although the number of persons sentenced was obviously rising, observers believed that the use of narcotics was diminishing. The higher arrest rate was a result of a widened definition of what constituted a narcotics offense and to more effective police control.

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A comprehensive overview of the contemporary organization and doctrine of the Finnish Defense Forces can be found in the 1988 work by Tomas Ries, Cold Will: The Defence of Finland. The first part of this study provides an account of the combat experience of the armed forces in the Civil War of 1918 and in the Winter War and Continuation War of 1939-44. Friedrich Wiener's Die Armeen der neutralen und blockfreien Staaten Europas provides complementary information on the configuration of the Defense Forces, together with photographs and technical data on weapons and vehicles. The Military Balance, 1988-89, produced by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, contains an up-to-date listing of the Finnish arms inventory.

Fundamentals of Finnish defense strategy, together with the organization of national defense and the structure of the individual services, are summarized in a concise official Ministry of Defense publication, Finnish National Defence. Although its appraisal of the strengths and the weaknesses of the armed forces is no longer current, the Report of the Third Parliamentary Defence Committee (1981) contains a useful analysis of Finland's security policy and its strategic position in Northern Europe. Aspects of Security: The Case of Independent Finland, produced by the Finnish Military History Commission, traces the development of the Defense Forces from independence in 1917 to 1985, reviewing Finnish strategy and tactics in the campaigns of 1939 to 1944.

Numerous studies have analyzed Finland's military role in Northern Europe and the defense of Scandinavia. Nordic Security by Erling Bjøl, although brief, examines the common geostrategic issues of the region and the diversified approach to security adopted by each of the five Nordic countries.

The organization and missions of the Frontier Guard and the police are summarized in two short official publications, The Frontier Guard in Finland and The Police of Finland. The Finnish Legal System, edited by Jaakko Uotila, contains background on the Finnish system of justice and, in an article by Inkeri Anttila, a discussion of criminal law and punishment. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of December 1988

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Finland Table of Contents