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What should I do if I have problems with substance abuse?

The list below provides information on the kinds of substance abuse treatment available in Finland, how to seek treatment and where to find the contact details of the places of treatment. All social and health care services are confidential in Finland. This means that the employees will not tell anyone about you without your consent.

When you seek treatment due to substance abuse at any unit, please take your Kela card or European Health Insurance Card with you.

Health care centre

If you have problems with substance abuse, you can first go to a health care centre. Some health care centres have an addiction nurse specialised in the treatment of substance abuse. Different municipalities and health care centres offer different services. Also, the queuing times for the services vary. When you book an appointment at a health care centre, tell about your problems and the urgency of your situation. At the same time, you should check whether your health care centre has an addiction nurse.

The services provided by municipal health care centres are subject to a fee in most municipalities, but the fees are not high.

Occupational health care services

Each employer must pay for the health care of all of their employees by law. Occupational health care services are often provided by private clinics, but some employers use public services. The content of the occupational health care provided depends on the employer. If you want to seek addiction treatment via occupational health care services, you should check with your employer whether the occupational health care services provided also cover treatment for substance abuse. Additional information on occupational health care services is available on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration site and your employer.

Social services

Social services include treatment for substance abuse and supportive services related to housing, for example. Social services vary in different municipalities. Check with the social services of your municipality what kind of services are available. The contact details of social services can be found on your municipality’s website.

Social services include adult social work. Adult social work helps with everyday problems, such as problems with substance abuse. Substance abuse is commonly also associated with other troubles, such as financial difficulties. Adult social services involve thinking about solutions to improve the customer’s situation. Taking care of the problems may include cooperation with the A-clinic, employment office or Kela, among others. Different municipalities offer different adult social work services.


A-clinics offer diverse abuse treatment services for addicts and their family members. Initially, a survey is conducted to determine the type of treatment required. A-clinics offer a variety of treatment methods, and the treatment includes therapy discussions. It is important for the treatment that you personally want to achieve change with regard to your substance abuse. Additional information is available on, e.g., the A-Clinic website.

If you have a permanent residence in Finland, the outpatient services of the A-clinic in your municipality are available to you free of charge. You need not ask for a referral from a doctor; you can go directly to the A-clinic. A commitment from the municipality’s social services or A-clinic is required for inpatient care fees.

A-clinics can be found in several locations. Their contact details of can be found on the A-Clinic's or your municipality’s website.

Youth clinic

Youth clinics are places for young people and their family members to get help for substance abuse. Youth clinics are usually free of charge, and no referral is required. Some youth clinics also have specific on-call duty hours during which they are open without advance appointments. Usually, youth clinics are intended for those aged under 25, but the age limits vary.

Their contact details of can be found on the A-Clinic's or your municipality’s website.

Institutional care and rehabilitation

Institutional care and rehabilitation is intended for those for whom outpatient care is not sufficient. You need a commitment of expenditure for these services, and possibly also a referral from your doctor. This means that you cannot seek inpatient care independently.

Detoxification is supervised short-term inpatient care. Its aim is to stop substance abuse, survey the other problems in the customer’s life and prepare for treating the addiction in the long term. During rehabilitation, you will have a chance to relax and talk with employees and other customers. Nurses will monitor your condition. If necessary, medications are available. Your follow-up care will also be planned during the detoxification.

If outpatient treatment is not sufficient after detoxification, rehabilitation in an institution can be considered. Rehabilitation in an institution usually lasts for 1-4 weeks, but sometimes it may also last longer. Several rehabilitation centres also offer short-term detoxification. During rehabilitation in an institution, you will take part in individual and group discussions. Furthermore, you will plan the follow-up care and life after inpatient care with the employees.

The fees for detoxification and rehabilitation vary greatly. If you have been given a commitment of expenditure, the municipality or the The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) will pay for the majority of the costs of detoxification or rehabilitation. As the customer, you will only pay the deductible. The National Institute for Health and Welfare’s website contains information on the fees of different treatment institutions in Finnish.

Private substance abuse treatment

In addition to public services, public substance abuse treatment services are also available in Finland. These services are available without a referral or commitment of expenditure. In this case, you will pay for everything yourself. Private companies offering treatment for substance abuse can be searched for on the Internet, for example.

Acute detoxification centre

An acute detoxification centre offers an intoxicated person shelter and treatment until he or she sobers up. Possible subsequent treatment for substance abuse is also planned there.

The A-Clinic’s website contains the contact details of their acute detoxification centres.

Health advice units

Health advice units are service points for those using intravenous narcotics. They offer easy access without an appointment, and you need not tell the employees your name. There you can replace used needles and syringes with clean ones. Health advice points also offer information on health care services, places of treatment and infectious diseases.

Health advice points’ contact details are also available on the website.