Drug Using Youth Groups in Vorkuta Russia
Drug use within the youth cultural environment is widespread and unremarkable; this means that drug users can rarely be considered to constitute distinct “subcultures”. In the context of processes of de-industrialisation and marketisation, drugs are a key commodity for sale and exchange. In the tough economic climate of the Russian far north – where geographical location means that hemp and opium based drugs cannot be locally grown, and supply routes are truncated by poor transportation links – they may become a key component of the informal economy. A key finding of this research was that the sale of drugs was one of a range of “hustling” practices – including trade in “acquired” goods and drugs, money-lending and “sorting” disputes – that were widespread among young people, whether or not they used drugs themselves.