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Youth and Drugs (Sociology of Narcotism) »


A. M. Bandurka

* Originally in Russian:
Bandurka, A. M. (2000) Introduction. In: Youth and Drugs (sociology of narcotism) (eds. V. A. Sobolev and I. P. Rushchenko), pp. 9–14. Kharkiv: Torsing.

It is known that production, turnover, sale and consumption of drugs present the problem of world importance which is threatening today individuals, especially the youth, peoples and states. The fight with this social evil requires effective and coordinated actions, because alongside with terrorism and corruption, it is the main obstacle for realization of individuals and peoples ambitions for development, peace and well-being. The practice shows that the problem of drug addiction can’t be solved with the help of only repressive measures, irrespective of their application from the side of demand or supply. On the contrary, the solution of the problem requires complex approach and namely, studying and spreading the international experience of fighting with illegal drug turnover and prevention of drug addiction among teenagers and the youth. In this connection it is important to remind, Special Session of UNO General Assembly on the world drug problem, held from 8 to 10th of June 1998, called the states of international community for cooperation and build-up of their efforts in fighting with demand, production and illegal drug turnover and the organized crime, connected with them.

The urgency of the problem of the prevention of drug addiction in Ukraine, as all over the world, is beyond the slightest doubt. It is conditioned by the whole number of factors: social, economic, psychological and biological ones. At present drug addiction is viewed as a social pathology pertaining to the global problems of modern times. Now specialists don’t hesitate when they asses the narcological situation — the spread of drug addiction in Ukraine, it took an epidemic character, embraced all territory of the country, especially its southern part. And, what causes a special anxiety, a criminal market of drugs has been formed at the level of organized criminal groups. The officials of the Bodies of Internal Affairs and health service are of the opinion that narcomafia already exists in the country.

Economic factors testify to the special urgency of this problem. The consumption of addictive substances diverts enormous material resources from the sphere of economic activity. The laundering of money, obtained from the illegal turnover of drug and psychotropic substances, has become for today one of the most morbid problems. In Ukraine, narcobusiness, arms trade, prostitution and slave-trade are the most effective sources of income in the sphere of crime and shadow economy.

Drug addiction infringes upon the reproduction of manpower. The overwhelming quantity of registered drug addicts — young people of socially active age. In 1985 there were 25 thousand registered drug addicts in Ukraine, in 1995 — 50 thousand ones. But by assessments of experts, the real number of drug addicts may be 450 thousand people in the age from 10 to 18 years old.

People of 10–18 years old make 12 238 thousand people in the structure of the population of Ukraine, or 24%. The share of drug addicts among the given category of the population makes 3.6 %. Every drug addict, as a rule, draws into the number of drug addicts by certain documents 5–6 people, by other documents — 10–17 people. And it can’t help affecting the demographic structure of the society. The demographic decrease in the next 15–20 years, by assessments of specialists, can put the country on the verge of physical survival.

The death rate caused by drugs is growing among teenagers. So, by the data of the Ministry of Health, the share of drug addicts among schoolchildren increased 6-8 times for the last 10 years, and the death rate among them, caused by drugs, increased 40 times. Taking into account the fact that the overwhelming part of drug addicts doesn’t live to 30 years of age, we may state that this age group will not produce posterity, i.e., it will not take part in the process of the reproduction. The question about the real threat to the security of the society and the state as a result of drug addiction spread and formation of the narcomafia has already been raised in Russia.

We can clearly see the connection between the growth of drug consumption and unlawful behavior of teenagers and the youth. First, the share of people of the age from 14 to 29 years old, against whom criminal proceedings have been instituted by clause 2291 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (illegal making, purchase, keeping, transportation, sending and sale of drug substances), in 1998 made 65% of the general number of those against whom criminal proceedings have been instituted by the given clause. Second, the number of people committing crimes in the state of alcohol and drug intoxication doesn’t decrease. So, in 1997 the number of people, who committed crimes in the state of alcohol intoxication, made 66.2 thousand people (16% of the total number of people who committed crimes), in 1998 — correspondingly 62 thousand people (15%).

The realization of the degree of drug spread among teenagers and the youth and its negative consequences made the Supreme Rada of Ukraine, the President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine develop and adopt a complex of program measures of preventive work directed on prevention of drug addition in Ukraine. At present the Complex objective Program of fighting with crime for 1996–2000 years, Number 837196 is working in Ukraine. The fourth chapter of this Program is dedicated to fighting with drug addiction and alcoholism. It provides the complex of measures of fighting with illegal drug turnover and preventive work among teenagers and the youth.

Prevention of spread and drug consumption at the local level acquires special importance today. The practice of European countries shows that such an approach let us make more concrete study the level of infection of teenagers and the youth with drug addiction and alcoholism, reveal material, financial and human resources for preventive work, study the level of readiness of state, public structures and population of a region to do coordinated and systematic work among teenagers and the youth.

In this connection we can only greet the initiative of the scientists of three European universities (Technical University — Dresden, Germany; University of Valencia, Spain; University of Internal affairs — Kharkov, Ukraine) to study the general and specific tendencies of spread and consumption of drugs in the youth environment. But the research of this level could hardly have taken place if not for the organizational and financial assistance from the Secretarial of the Council of Europe and Fund “Copernicus”, which has been given in due time. I think, I will express the opinion of all participants of the project “ Dynamics and Sociocultural mechanism of drug spread among the youth in the post-war period” if I say the words of gratitude to the leaders of this influential and authoritative international organization of Europe for giving organizational, financial and moral support.

The book “The youth and drugs” is the result of scientific cooperation of four European universities of three countries — Germany, Spain, Ukraine; Dresden Technical University (Institute of Social Pedagogic and Social work), European Regional Analytic Association (the Department of sociological researches and evolution), The University of Internal Affairs (Faculty of Sociology and Psychology), Kharkov Polytechnic University. This fact as well as the urgency of the topic, the uniqueness of methods and the novelty of results in a combined form make the work unique, i.e. the one having no analogues. The reader is presented with the broad panorama of research in the field of drug spread in the European countries, the kaleidoscope of various empiric data, the review of the approaches and the ideas in the sphere of prevention. Already the beginning of joint works in 1998 shows that the scientists of three countries are in different condition from the point of view of accumulated experience, the volume of information, the circle of literary sources on the drug problem. Germany (at least Western lands) has the firmest traditions in this field, in Spain the sociological research began to be done since the late seventies (after the democratization of the country), and in Ukraine the work in the field of sociology of narcotism began in the nineties. It had its effect on the character of research of every side. German and Spanish colleagues concentrated on the problem of prevention, and the Kharkovites — on the development of original research methods and doing empiric research. First, it was necessary to fill an empty niche in the subjects of the sociological research, which hadn’t been done before due to political and ideological reasons, and to answer in such a way a number of urgent questions. Second, truthful, reliable empiric base is to some degree a starting stage for further work in the field of methodology and organization of the prevention of drug spread in the youth environment. Besides, the peculiarity of the present book is in the fact that the Ukrainian sociologists present for review their methods and instruments (see Appendix), which may be used by the colleagues in other regions in a prepared form or they may develop new versions on their basis.

The strategic plan, general conception of the research was to involve maximum possible number of scientific methods for obtaining various information, and to make an analysis of the dynamics and social and cultural mechanism of drug spread on this base. In this store — quantitative and qualitative methods: numerous representative questionnaires, extended interactive interviews, collection of statistics (in archives of corresponding organizations as well), drawing maps, mathematical forecasting, questioning of experts (doctors-narcologists and lawyers-practitioners). In the first chapter Doctor Rushchenko I. P. describes in detail the developed methods and results of a number of quantitative measurements. The data of the monitoring (questionnaires of 1995, 1997, 1999), the results of the retrospective questionnaire of the Kharkovites of five generations let us reconstruct the dynamics of drug spread in the postwar period. The correctness of the methods, developed by the scientists was confirmed by the data of the transnational comparative research, made in Kharkov and Dresden in 1999. In the second chapter Doctor Svezhentseva Y. A. describes the results of drug addicts interviewing, made on the base of narcological hospital. The extended weakly structured interviews let us make a number of conclusions about the social and cultural mechanism of drug spread and the youth accustoming to drugs. In the third chapter, Professor Sobolev V. A. describes the methods of statistical observation in the field of illegal drug turnover and drug addiction diseases, gives the corresponding statistics for the postwar period. Candidate of Science (Medicine) Kyzminov V. N. analyses the epidemiological situation in Kharkov region in the social and the territorial aspect, using the method of map drawing. Professor Yakovlev S. V. and Candidate of Science (Physics and Mathematics) Gnusov Y. V. developed the short-term forecast of drug addiction diseases on the base of using special mathematical methods. In the forth chapter Doctor Postupnoy A. N. gives the data of questionnaire made by specialists narcologists, referring to both the history and the modern situation in Kharkov region. Doctor Reshetnyak S. B. gives the results of interviewing the workers of law and order bodies, fighting with illegal drug turnover. In the fifth chapter Professor Yarmish A. N., Professor Sobolev V. A., Serdyuk A. A. study some methodological problems of the state policy and prevention of drug spread.

We are thankful to our German and Spanish colleagues who were very kind to agree to take part in the collective monograph.

Our German colleagues — Dr. Sting S., Wolf M., Zippe C. — have made detailed analysis of drug situation in Germany and particular in Saxony on the basis of statistical data and results of sociological researches. Huge virtue of their part was a detailed analysis of present methods of drug spread prevention.

Doctor Blasko A. L. and Ferrando F. P. made a detailed review of sociological research on drugs which have been made in Spain since 1978, analyzed the situation in Valencia community and examined the alternative ways and methods of presentation, solution of the drug problem. Thus, interested Ukrainian reader, social and medical workers, pedagogical staff, law-enforcement bodies’ servants can sufficiently enrich their horizon and professional knowledge including information from German and Spain parts.

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