Finns divided over alcohol regulation

Finns are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to alcohol regulation. (Yle)
Finns are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to alcohol regulation. (Yle)
Alcohol-related concerns such as illness, crime and accidents are part of the daily lives of many Finns, according to a survey conducted by a substance abuse prevention association.

A new survey suggests that pinions among Finns are divided on the regulation of alcohol. Half of the people surveyed by an NGO dedicated to fighting alcohol abuse say they do not consider the current regulations to be too strict, while 44 percent of respondents say that the availability and usage of alcohol is too tightly controlled.

A planned alcohol legislation overhaul was overturned by government parties last week, and the original schedule for the reform was postponed indefinitely. This means that sales restrictions on beer and the opening hours of licensed premises will remain as they are for the time being.

In the survey conducted by EHYT ry, the Association for Substance Abuse Prevention, 80 percent of respondents said they had no strong opinion on whether or not beer should be available in grocery stores on Sundays, and just over three quarters said they were indifferent to whether licensed establishments should be open until 3 or 4am.

Just over a third of those polled would deny municipalities the right to regulate public alcohol consumption in areas like public parks.

Drunk and disorderly behaviour commonplace

A majority of Finns have experienced alcohol-related drawbacks in their inner circle, work community or residential vicinity. Ordinarily the disturbances reported are drunkenness and disruptive behaviour, both of which 62 percent of respondents had encountered personally.

Almost half had come face to face with underage drinking, alcohol-related illnesses and various negative familial effects. The survey also shows that about a third of those polled had experienced property crimes, accidents or alcohol-related violence.

Of the 1,085 Finns who responded to the survey, 69 percent said that alcohol legislation should be geared towards minimising the adverse effects of substance abuse.

Only 14 percent are reported as saying that legislation should emphasise the operating conditions of alcohol producers and retailers.

The findings are subject to a 3 percent margin of error.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Booze restrictions to stay in three Nunavut hamlets, CBC News

Finland: Finland imposes further restrictions on alcohol advertising, Yle News

United States:  Alaska village mulls reversing alcohol ban, Alaska Dispatch

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