ISSN online: 2221-1616

Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology (Vestnik instituta sotziologii)

Research Article

Margarita E. Pozdnyakova Candidate of Philosophy
Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0002-7896-5115
Viktoria V. Bruno Candidate of Sociology
Institute of Sociology of FCTAS RAS, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0001-9735-024X
Transformation of drug behaviour patterns in the Russian Federation in the context of the spread of coronavirus infection.
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2022. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 192-216

Дата поступления статьи: 27.03.2022
Topic: The Social Consequences of the Pandemic: Latest Research

For citation:
Pozdnyakova M. E., Bruno V. V. Transformation of drug behaviour patterns in the Russian Federation in the context of the spread of coronavirus infection. Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2022. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 192-216


The article is devoted to the analysis of the main changes in the drug use during the spread of coronavirus infection in Russia. The work is based on the results of surveys of the urban working-age population aged 18-65+ years, university students and high school students in various regions of the country, conducted by the sector of the sociology of deviant behaviour of the FCTAS RAS. In addition to quantitative surveys, a qualitative analysis was carried out - semi-structured interviews with a target group of drug users aged 40-65+ with varying intensity of drug use (summer 2020 and 2021). The content and messages of members of pro-drug groups in social networks and instant messengers were analysed. “Integration” was carried out in strictly closed (“members only”) virtual drug groups, where the research team took an active part in discussions (using the “participant observation” method) during the pandemic.

Based on the materials of quantitative and qualitative studies, it is considered what changes have occurred in drug consumption patterns and everyday drug practices during the pandemic among high school students, students and the elderly. It is shown that despite the trend of the last ten years to reduce drug use, especially in young age groups, by the time of the pandemic, the drug situation in Russia remained tense. Moreover, the expected significant decrease in the prevalence of drug use due to the closure of borders and other anti-epidemic measures did not occur with the onset of the pandemic, while a number of negative trends emerged. It was revealed that the pandemic and the period with the widespread introduction of remote learning and a sharp reduction in live communication had the hardest emotional impact on the younger generation. In search of ways to overcome frustration, some young people have turned to substance use. A survey of students showed that the period of the beginning of the pandemic had almost no effect on the use of synthetic drugs by students, however, some students increased the use of cannabis derivatives and potent drugs in order to influence consciousness. An increase in the prevalence of drug tests in older age groups was revealed, as well as the spread of "pharmacy drug addiction", that worsened at the time of the pandemic. It is shown that the increased involvement of citizens of different ages and social groups in the use of psychoactive substances is a manifestation of a dysfunctional adaptive response ("asocial adaptation") of the population to many social challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies have shown that today, after several years of a smooth undulating decline in the prevalence of drug problems in Russian society, new conditions have formed for the next extreme surge in drug addiction.


drug situation, drugs, COVID-19 pandemic, teenagers, youth, older people



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