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Doping legislation in Finland

Doping offenses penalty provisions can be found in chapter 44 of the Penal Code. The Penal Code criminalizes manufacture, import and distribution of doping substances, and possession of doping substances for distribution purposes. The use of doping substances is not punishable by the Penal Code. 

A doping crime means the illegal manufacture, import and distribution of doping substances. The selling, brokering and distribution of doping substance to another person is punishable by law.  Doping substance possession is punishable as a doping offense, but only if the holder is deemed likely to illegally distribute the substance. Punishment for a doping offense is a fine or up to two years in prison.

In an aggravated doping crime there is a remarkably high amount of substances or through the crime itself, substantial economic benefits are sought-after. This crime can also be aggravated if a person is a member of an organized group which deals in doping crimes or this person distributes these substances to minors. For an aggravated doping crime, it is punishable with imprisonment of at least four months and can go up to four years. 

In a minor doping crime, either there is a small amount of substances or it can be deemed as minor after a thorough assessment regarding other details of the crime. A fine is applied for a minor doping crime. It can be imposed outside the district court proceedings where the prosecutor usually confirms the fine written by police or customs.

Doping substances defined by the Penal Code are:

1) synthetic anabolic steroids and their derivatives
2) testosterone and derivatives
3) growth hormone
4) chemical substances which increase testosterone, its derivatives or growth hormone production in the human body.

The Government has, in a separate Regulation, listed in detail all the doping substances (Government Decree 705/2002). Although the use of doping substances is not a crime under the Penal Code, possession of a doping substance for personal use may be punished as taking possession of illegally imported goods if the person is aware of substances being illegally imported.

Competitive sport uses their own rules, by which the use of doping substances is prohibited. The sanctions imposed for professional athletes for doping substance use in sport are based on the international and national rules.

Heini Kainulainen
Researcher, LL.D.,
Associate Professor of Criminology
Research Institute of Legal Policy