Drug Abuse in the Global Village



                        Extent of Drug Abuse

The most abused drug in Ukraine is reported to be home-made dimethylmorphine (dimitrol). It is estimated that there are 90,000 to 150,000 annual and 27,000 to 100,000 daily abusers of opiates, as well as 4000 to 10,000 annual and 3000 to 5000 daily abusers of volatile substances (U.N. 1992).

            Other drugs reported abused are cannabis and psychotropic substances (sedatives) (U.N. 1992).

                       Abuser Characteristics

Registered drug abusers are between 15 and 40 years of age, the majority 20-34 years old. In 1992, 20% of the registered abusers were females (18% in 1991) (U.N. 1991,1992).

                         Regional  Variations

Poppy is mostly cultivated in the Western region of Ukraine. However drug abuse in this region is much lower than in the Southern and Eastern regions (U.N. 1991).


Abuse of heroin, cannabis, barbiturates and benzodiazepines are reported stable in 1992. However, an increase in the consumption of illicit drugs in general has been reported which is attributed to economic changes, democratization and migration. In addition, an increase in the availability of illicit drugs due to an increase in home production and trafficking has been noted. Drug abuse is reported to be spreading in rural areas (U.N. 1991,1992).

            The social attitude towards drugs in 1992 is reported to have become negative as opposed to indifferent in 1991 (U.N. 1991,1992).

                             Mode of intake

Ninety five percent of all drug addicts registered are intravenous drug abusers. Opiates are reported injected. Opium is taken in combination with sedatives (U.N. 1992).


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).


                           National Strategy

The Ukrainian Government neither have a clearly defined national policy regarding alcoholism and drug abuse, nor a national programme aimed at solving the related problems. The principal reasons for this are reported to be economic difficulties and lack of financing. In 1993, a Coordinating Council to Combat Drug Addiction was set up under the Office of the President. The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs and other relevant organizations are engaged in drafting an anti-drug legislation (U.N. 1992).

            Medical aspects of drug abuse are coordinated by the Kharkov Research Institute for Neurology and Psychiatry of the Ministry of Health (CMO 1990).



                           Treaty adherence

Ukraine is Party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.


                          Primary Prevention

Secondary school students are given drug prevention education as part of the general science courses. Audio-visual material are also available to this target group (CMO 1990).

            Basic and further training in drug prevention are provided to health professionals, social workers, teachers and law enforcement personnel. Drug prevention activities have also been targeted at youth and parents (CMO 1990).

            Media campaigns using television, radio and the press have been carried out (CMO 1990).

                 Treatment and Rehabilitation

Treatment programmes are under the direction of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health. Since 1990, treatment is voluntary, free, individually tailored, and of unlimited duration. All patients are registered when they apply for treatment and are subsequently monitored through consultations at clinics and health centres over a five year period (U.N. 1992).

            In 1992, 26,589 drug abusers were registered in the Statistical Department of the Ministry of Health (31,080 in 1991). Of these, 4921 were registered in 1992 (3551 in 1991). This represents 0.09 % of the total population who abuse drugs (0.06% in 1991) (U.N. 1991,1992).

            Treatment is based on medicines and includes psychotherapy and hypnosis. In 1992, there were 26 specialized detoxification facilities treating 15,530 opiate addicts, 5100 seeking treatment for the first time. The average rate of relapse is estimated at 76%. One self-help service is operating in Kiev (U.N. 1992).

            The increase in the number of registered addicts has been accompanied by a decline in the effectiveness of treatment (measured in terms of the abstention from drugs over a five year period). This is attributed to the absence of rehabilitation programmes (U.N. 1992).

            Difficulties in recruiting ex-drug addicts for social work has been reported (U.N. 1992).


        Arrests, convictions and type of offences

In 1991, the number of drug related crimes had increased by about 37% from 1990 to reach 11,466 cases (U.N. 1991)

            The largest number of drug related offences in 1990 and 1991 were for illicit production and sale of narcotic drugs (6440 in 1990, 10,177 in 1991), followed by theft and robbery of pharmacists, pharmaceutical industry etc. (288 in 1990, 291 in 1991), and maintenance and organization of places where drugs may be consumed ("Shooting Galleries") (93 in 1990 and 162 in 1991). Other offences included inducement to use drugs, illicit growing of opiate poppies, cannabis, and violations of production, acquisition, supplying and transport of illicit drugs (U.N. 1991).


In 1991, 534 kg of cannabis plants, 9941 units of opiates, 14.6 tonnes of opium plants/capsules and 61.6 kg of raw and prepared opium were seized (U.N. 1991).

                      Supply Source of Drugs

Opiates are locally produced (U.N. 1991).

                       References and Notes

            Since January 1991, a scientific department was established in the Kharkov Research Institute for Neurology and Psychiatry of the Ministry of Health to examine the medical problems linked to drug addiction. Indicatory information on all drug addicts and people dependent on drugs and toxic substances are collected for the purpose of establishing a data bank (U.N. 1991).

** The Legal, Administrative and Other Action Taken to Implement the International Drug Control Treaties section was prepared by the Secretariat of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs based on Annual Reports Questionnaires for the years .... (not available by January 15th 1994).

U.N. 1991,1992. Responses to the UNDCP Annual Report Questionnaires for the years 1991 and 1992.

CMO 1990. Reply to the UNDCP questionnaire concerning the seven targets of the Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Outline of Future Activities in Drug Abuse Control (CMO) for the year 1990.

AIDS-38 1993. AIDS Surveillance in Europe, Quarterly Report No 38, 30 June 1993.