"The growing number of young people abusing drugs is a serious concern. Worryingly, the overwhelming majority of drug addicts are between 18 – 30 years old. Many of them are unemployed, have a chronic history of offending and commit a large number of crimes to finance their addiction. As is the case in many other countries, the so-called ‘dark figure’ of crime – the mismatch between crime estimates produced by victimization surveys and those recorded by the police - is a well-known concept in Russia and most commentators agree that a relatively small number of opiate addicts are responsible for a staggering amount of acquisitive and violent crime. In this context it is worth noting that the Russian police registered around 12,000 crimes (of which 63 percent were rated as serious or extremely serious) which had been committed by offenders whilst they were suffering drug intoxication.

"The increase in drug abuse amongst otherwise law-abiding people, particularly adolescents, is causing a good deal of concern. Over the last few years, more and more young people have become ensnared in the cycle of drug abuse and crime. In 2006, more than 3,000 adolescents committed drug related crimes. Of these, some 845 cases involved the distribution of drugs. Young people’s increasing willingness to abuse drugs which too often leads to addiction, prostitution and homelessness, poses a real threat to community safety."


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Illicit Drug Trends in the Russian Federation. UNODC Regional Office for Russia and Belarus, April, 2008.