Substance abuse prevention work

Photo: Julia Kivelä

The aim of substance abuse prevention work is to prevent and reduce the harm caused by substance abuse to substance users, their loved ones and society by strengthening protective factors and reducing risk factors, reducing harm, increasing understanding of substance abuse as a phenomena and promoting the rights of substance users. Information on harm caused by substance abuse and tools to prevent their use are produced to city residents. Preventive substance abuse work is carried out both at the basic level of work and in multi-professional expert networks.

Helsinki Substance Abuse Prevention Network

In 2020, the Helsinki Substance Abuse Prevention Network was established. It includes operators of the City of Helsinki and representatives of the voluntary sector and state administration. The activities of the network include processing of topical issues in substance abuse prevention work, exchange of information and the creation of a strong knowledge base for preventive substance abuse work, sharing of good operating models and practices as well as cooperation with universities. The Substance Abuse Prevention Network contributes to the well-being and health of Helsinki residents through its work.

In Helsinki, the City Board acts as the body defined in the Act on Organising Substance Abuse Prevention.

Pakka operating model

The Pakka operating model is a Finnish researched application for local work to prevent substance abuse harm. In the Pakka model, the focus is on eliminating the availability of alcohol, tobacco and gambling games.

The Pakka operating model involves substance abuse prevention work focused on local communities with the aim of

  • reducing alcohol consumption, smoking and problem gambling among young people and adults
  • increasing the starting age of drinking, smoking and gambling
  • decreasing binge drinking and related harm
  • systematically preventing alcohol-, smoking- and gambling-related harm in the area and region in cooperation with a multi-operator network.

The Pakka measures include annual integrated purchase tests at points of sale, customer assessments at restaurants and different campaigns related to furnishing to minors.

The Pakka work in Helsinki involves a multi-professional Pakka steering group, which includes employees from the different city sectors as well as representatives of the Helsinki Police Department, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland and the Finnish Association for Substance Abuse Prevention EHYT. In addition to the above, representatives of the perishables business are included in the Pakka supply working group.