The survey was conducted among drug-using clients of the Low-Threshold Service Point (LTSP) that operated in Kaliningrad under the EU-funded project “Taking up Challenge: Developing Services to Contain the Spread of HIV and TB among Injecting Drug Users in Kaliningrad Oblast” between October 2012 and November 2013. The LTSP was established in cooperation between Kaliningrad Drug Treatment Dispensary and the NGO “YLA” in September 2012.
On voluntary basis, LTSP’s clients took part in this survey focused on their exposure to health risks and awareness of infectious diseases. If accepted, each client was informed in detail about the interview session to come and given the opportunity to sign a consent form. Interviews were conducted “face-to-face” by psychologists and trained social workers who served as interviewers. Individual code for each client was assigned so that the respective interview data are entered in the database under this code and not client’s name or other characteristics by which the respective individual can be identified. The client was then administered the health and risk questionnaire focused on his/her injection and sexual practices; health concerns and contacts with medical and social institutions; awareness of infectious diseases and techniques to prevent them. Socio-demographic characteristics of clients were also recorded. Any gaps in the client’s knowledge of infectious diseases or his/her exposure to unsafe practices were addressed during health education session that followed the interview. The interview took approximately 40 minutes, while disease prevention education session required 15 to 20 minutes. Clients received rewards of 10 EUR, in the form of mobile telephone cards, snacks and were also provided with condoms, lubricants, bleach and vitamins. 510 clients underwent interviews during this exercise. The respective results are presented below.
The absolute majority of respondents (76%) are males who dominate among drug users in Kaliningrad and Russia. Their average age is 38 years while most respondents were between 30 and 50 years of age. 83% had secondary or college education, 39% were employed. Among them 40% had jobs at public or private organizations, disabled accounted for about 5% of the sample, while students constituted less than 1%. Median monthly income among respondents varied between 10,000 and 25,000 rubles (approximately, 300-500 Euro). About a half of the sample were those never married.
Practically every respondent admitted injecting drug use, with 74% of them having 10 or more years of drug experience. “Beginners”, i.e. those injecting drugs for less than a year constitute only 4.4% of the sample. 74% of respondents prefer heroin, although talking about the period of 30 days before the interview, 40% also mentioned injecting other drugs, mainly amphetamines. Usually, drugs are injecting together with others: 92% indicated that they practiced drug consumption in groups. This fact has to be taken into account when planning overdose prevention campaigns, the condition experienced by 68% of respondents.
As to paraphernalia sharing, this is a widespread practice among those surveyed. During the period of 12 months before the interview, 45% of respondents either used others’ syringes or lent theirs to other users. 57% shared filters to draw drug solution; 60% drew their dose from common syringe; 76% shared water to cook drugs and 78% cooked drugs in common container……
To read the full report please download it here.
Categories: Drug policy in Russia | Tags: drug users, Kaliningrad, research, Russia | 1 comment »