Junkies rule Russia

Published: Friday 15 May 1998

social and economic upheaval in Russia, along with the influx of heroin and other illegal drugs, have led to a rapid increase in the number of drug addicts. This rise is shadowed by a steep increase in the incidence of hiv -- the virus that causes aids .

Since the collapse of ussr , Kaliningrad, Panos, has become an entry point for much of Russia's imported heroin and cocaine. As these drugs are costly, most of the addicts inject locally produced heroin that cost much lesser than imported narcotics. Sometimes, they even inject other substances such as cocaine or amphetamines.

Vladimir Yegorov, the leading drug expert at the ministry of health, estimates that there are between 500,000 and 700,000 injecting drug users nation-wide; which is ten times higher than the 1995 estimate of 64,000 addicts and over twenty times higher than that in 1990.

It is difficult to confirm the extent to which hiv infection among drug users is being passed to their sexual partners, but the indicators are that it is already a serious problem.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.