Irti Huumeista ry fights against drugs, adopting the power of insights with Crowst

Irti Huumeista ry (“Free from drugs”) is an association dedicated to providing support services and professional expertise for people who suffer of the use of drugs, and who are recovering from the drug use. The services extend the support also the close ones of those who use drugs, supporting the immediate living circle of the people impacted. The mission of Irti Huumeista ry is to decrease and prevent the negative impact of drug use in Finland, both from the individual perspective and also from the perspective of the society. This article focuses on the insight-driven collaboration of Irti Huumeista ry and Crowst.

It’s tough, emotionally challenging work

Over the past 60 years, the use of drugs has represented a major, growing problem in virtually all societies across the globe. The negative aspects of drug use to the user are evident, but the full extent covers the families, friends, couples, colleagues, and everyone else involved in a drug user’s life. From the societal perspective drug use sets tough pressure on the delivery and availability of physical and mental health services, work of doctors, other experts and police.

“We work hard to help people and their loved ones with drug questions. I think one of the most important things is to work respecting human rights, ensuring everyone gets the treatment they need”, opens Mirka Vainikka, Executive Director of Irti Huumeista ry. “We work close and face-to-face with people who use drugs, with their parents, family members, friends and all their loved ones. We operate with medical professionals and experts, with the police and decision-makers. This is not the easiest work, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else”, states Vainikka. “Our challenging work provides also huge feelings of achievement, success and joy.”

In Finland, the publicly supported drug policy is called as the “two-track drug policy” (“kahden raiteen huumepolitiikka”). The starting point of the policy is a total ban. In addition to serious drug crime, i.e. the manufacture, trade and smuggling of drugs, the use and possession of drugs is also illegal in Finland. At the same time, treatment for drug users and social and health counselling are facilitated. The treatment is secured and protected by the confidentiality obligation of social and health professionals.

Finnish drug policy and public opinion

In May 2023, Irti Huumeista ry executed a consumer study with Crowst focusing on the people’s perception on the association, reactions on the Finnish drug policy, and attitudes on how the drug use of celebs should be treated in media.

“Two out of three Finns support the current two-track drug policy”, affirms Vainikka. However, around 15 % of the respondents, especially males, would loosen up the current policy. “They would support abandoning the total ban, promoting less strict legislation on drug use and the possession of drugs”, Vainikka continues. This is aligned with the overall trend across the globe; several countries have lightened up their legislation especially on cannabis, some countries have even legalized it on some parts.

“Drugs are not something that are limited only to the context of the user. The use of drugs impacts on people’s leisure time, work, employees, and the entire society. Possible changes and revisions on the drug policy need to be considered thoroughly, based on clear objectives and strategy”, underlines Vainikka. “Drugs are an important topic for all of us, not only for those who use them.”

People’s perception on Irti Huumeista ry

The results of the conducted consumer study were very positive on the perceptions towards the association. The vast majority, 76 % of the respondents, have an initial positive impression on Irti Huumeista ry. The figure is even more impressive after the association is introduced with more detail.

“With Crowst, we have established a solid and modern foundation for insight-driven collaboration, and we will continue to listen to what people think, what motivates them, and how the attitudes change over time.”

Mirka Vainikka, Executive Director, Irti Huumeista ry

“The results show that our work is highly and broadly appreciated, which warms our hearts. Viewing the results and seeing the great attributes that are used to describe us is very rewarding”, Vainikka comments. “With Crowst, we have established a solid and modern foundation for insight-driven collaboration, and we will continue to listen to what people think, what motivates them, and how the attitudes change over time.”, Vainikka closes.

Did you like this read? Read also about our collaboration with the City of Helsinki.