Ph.D in Psychology
Head of Juridical psychology chair, Juridical psychology faculty, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education
The official statistics reveal a steady growth of drug use in Russia and epidemiological estimations indicate that the real prevalence of intravenous drug users may be 4-5 times higher than the official figure. This fact highlights the importance of effective preventive programmes for young people. Each preventive programme in the field of public health should be based on the results of socio-psychological studies on a given problem (Gurvich, 1999). In this paper, we discuss the results of a two-stage study based on the ideas presented by social representations theory (Moscovici, 1961). Our purpose was to analyze the lay thinking about drugs among different groups of young Russians. A total of 257 respondents (162 males and 95 females) aged 16 to 35 participated in the study (the median age was 24 years). At the first stage, the ‘map’ of shared common views about drugs was revealed. At the second stage, different social positions (as a function of different experience with drugs) on this ‘map’ were analyzed. The reported results give support to our predictions.
Keywords: drugs, young Russians, social representations theory, experience of drug consumption, experience of imprisonment related to drugs