Drug Abuse in the Global Village

Drug Abuse in Eastern Europe

                                     COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF ABUSE

Estimates of costs and consequences are not available. Drug related deaths data is not collected. No AIDS cases are reported but 6 HIV positive individuals have been identified. No information as to whether there are any HIV infections among intravenous drug abusers is available (U.N. 1992).


The drug abuse situation appears to be changing rapidly in Bulgaria. A 1992 report did not consider drug abuse to be a serious problems from a medical and social consequences point of view (Bulgaria 1992). However, 1993 a report pointed out a high rate of suicide and attributed it to the breakdown social system malfunction. Bulgaria ranks first among European countries, the United States and Japan in the number of suicides among children 5 to 14 years of age (2.7 per 100 000 inhabitants) (Bulgaria 1993)

            HIV seropositivity /AIDS. No AIDS cases among drug abusers have been reported as of June 1993 (European Centre 1993). However, isolated cases of HIV infection among drug addicts have been reported earlier (Bulgaria 1991).


Reported costs estimates associated with the purchase of illicit drugs and related consequences are reported to be high (U.N. 1992).

            Drug related deaths. A total of 33 drug related deaths were reported in 1992, 24 due to abuse of opiates, 2 due to multiple drug abuse and 7 due to unspecified drugs, 10 of the deaths were of males between 25 and 29 years old (U.N. 1992).

            HIV seroprevalence/AIDS. Of the total 53 AIDS cases reported by June 1993, 7 were injecting drug abusers (European Centre 1993). In 1992, 13 HIV infected injecting drug abusers were reported (U.N. 1992).


HIV seroprevalence/AIDS. No cases of AIDS or HIV infection have been reported in the Republics as of June 1993 (AIDS surveillance in Europe 1993).

            Drug related deaths.  A total of 27 deaths and 34 suicides related to drug abuse were reported for 1991 (U.N. 1991).


Drug related deaths: Between 1973 and 1989 a total of 55 drug related deaths were registered (9 in 1989, of which 5 were due to solvent abuse and one is attributed to poppy tea. No reported deaths due to drug abuse were reported in 1990 (Hungary 1991).

HIV seroprevalence/AIDS: In June 1993, a total of 125 AIDS cases were registered. Of these only one was an injecting drug abuser (AIDS Surveillance in Europe 1993).


Drug related deaths. Mortality due to drug abuse is increasing. In 1992, a total of 27 drug related deaths were reported, 60% of deaths are due to overdose, mainly of amphetamines and sedatives. Multiple drug abuse (barbiturates, hallucinogens and tranquilizers together) is implicated in approximately 15% of the total deaths, volatile solvents in 15% and drug related illnesses 11% (U.N. 1992).

AIDS among drug abusers. Among the 4 AIDS cases reported as of June 1993, none were of injecting drug abusers (AIDS surveillance in Europe, 1993).


About 70% of drug abusers are unemployed and depend on social welfare for housing and subsistence (CMO 1991).

            According to a study on drug abusers who had undergone treatment, 60% of all drug addicts suffered various forms of injury, 65% overdosed, 47% attempted suicide, 33% had icterus and 24% dermatic phlegmon (CMO 1991).

            A total of 130 drug related deaths were reported in 1991 (CMO 1991), compared to 19 in 1979 and 102 in 1982 (Puzynski, S. 1983). A sample survey of 212 drug abusers in treatment in Warsaw found the mortality rate as 18% between 1980 and 1984 (CMO 1991).

            Drug abusers and AIDS patients have difficulties in obtaining basic medical care such as dental or gynecological services, due to rejection by both the general public and medical personnel. This has resulted in increased morbidity among drug abusers, despite a decrease in needle sharing, higher availability of needles and improved education regarding AIDS/HIV transmission. Over 10% of drug addicts in treatment are HIV positive, and in some regions it is up to 35%( CMO 1991). Out of the 149 AIDS cases reported in June 1993, 62 (41.6%) were among injecting drug abusers (AIDS 1993).


The costs and consequences of drug abuse in Romania are at present considered insignificant (U.N. 1992).

            No intravenous drug addicts have been reported to have AIDS (AIDS in Europe 1993).


No statistics on numbers of deaths resulting from or related to drug abuse are kept in the Russian Federation, and for 1992, no drug related deaths were reported (U.N. 1992).

            Of the 37 adolescent/adult AIDS cases reported in June 1993, none were of injecting drug abusers (AIDS Report 1993).


In 1992, 10 deaths due to drugs overdose (5 in 1991, 3 in 1990) were reported (Report 1993).

            Among the 27 AIDS cases reported as of June 1993, 2 were intravenous drug abusers (7.4%) (AIDS Surveillance 1993).


In 1992, 399 drug related deaths were reported, of which 14 were due to volatile substance abuse (U.N. 1992).

            As of June 1993, 14 AIDS cases were reported, none among intravenous drug users (AIDS-38 1993). It is reported that the majority of drug abusers use individual needles (U.N. 1992).