The direct costs for managing alcohol-related problems in Finland are estimated annually to be 1.3 billion euros, according to the National Institute for Health and Welfare THL.
The THL says the actual figure is much higher, since the cost of reduced production and years of life lost are not included in the calculation.
The treatment of alcohol abuse costs every Finn about 240 euros a year. And those tax funds are only the money used to deal with immediate problems such as health care and alcohol-associated disturbances to public order.
The new THL study also points to the impact on the families of alcohol abusers and to society in general.
For example, almost 40% of the children of woman who abuse alcohol are placed in care outside their homes before reaching school age. For the same age group in the general population, that figure is only 1%. Alcohol abuse by mothers also sharply increases the risk of accidents for their children.
While the law guarantees support services for the close family members of alcohol abusers, in practice the availability of services does not always meet demand.
In addition, heavy drinking causes feelings of insecurity for others. The THL study shows that half of women and a quarter of men say that they were concerned for their personal safety within the previous year when being confronted in a public place by someone who was intoxicated.
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