The City of Espoo takes very seriously the reports suggesting drug use among young people in Espoo has increased.
Espoo Police have observed that drug use among under-18-year-olds has been on the increase, particularly due to marijuana. The police are also aware of a case where a schoolchild needed hospital treatment due to potential misuse of designer drugs.
Young people, their parents, friends and teachers may always contact the student welfare services, school health service or young people's outpatient clinic NUPOLI with any issues and worries relating to substance abuse.
Espoo works toward preventing drug and alcohol abuse by young people, and any instances of substance misuse are dealt with immediately. Espoo's education and youth services departments have agreed on joint operating models for dealing with substance abuse. The parent or guardian will be notified of drug and alcohol use, and the young person will be referred to the required help and support. Based on this joint policy, comprehensive and upper secondary schools have also drafted their own policies to prevent drug and alcohol use.
Methods for substance abuse prevention and education are also being developed in the Päihteetön koulu (‘Drug-Free School’) project. Work is carried out together with the young and their parents. The project is currently running in the area of Kauklahti, and experiences and best practices derived from it will be shared with early education, education and youth services. The parents of all pupils starting secondary education will be given a guide called Vauhdilla aikuisuuteen? Selviytymisopas nuoren vanhemmille (‘Growing up Fast? Survival Guide to Young People's Parents’) that explains what parents can do to prevent their children from using drugs or alcohol.
Substance abuse prevention work is implemented in close collaboration with parents and others working with children and young people.
A school health survey shows that, in Espoo in 2010, 12% of secondary school pupils and 25% of upper secondary school pupils had experimented with illegal drugs at least once.