Drug addiction is spreading rapidly in St. Petersburg. This can be explained primarily by the arrival of heroin from the southern countries of the former USSR and the rise in unemployment in the dormitory suburbs of St. Petersburg.
Heroin consumption and the city’s heroin users can be compared to France’s young hash users. Gangs of young people shoot up simply because ”it’s fun”, ”it’s cheap” and ”everyone’s doing it”… Consequently it is not uncommon to meet fifteen-year olds who are unaware of the risks involved in sharing needles.
In addition, the Russian government has passed laws that restrict the press’ freedom to refer to drug abuse and to conduct awareness-raising campaigns. In Russia’s prisons, HIV-positive inmates are kept apart from the rest of the prison population, deprived of medication and treatment, because they are considered drug addicts. The Russian government refuses any form of prevention that might curb the plague of drug abuse.
Mass screenings for HIV have revealed a growth curve that shows no indication of levelling out given the prevailing mentality in governmental circles. Drug addicts remain without access to medical treatment.