Drug Use Among Russian Soldiers: A Disturbing Trend

Reports suggest that drug use, particularly among ‘bored’ Russian soldiers, is on the rise.

Troops in the trenches are reportedly turning to narcotics, including a substance known as ‘salt,’ which induces paranoia and hallucinations, as per Russian media.

A Rising Issue: Soldiers’ Drug Use

Russian soldiers, especially those stationed in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, have allegedly easy access to drugs.

Interviews with soldiers, drug-users, and local residents by independent Russian newspaper Verstka revealed that many soldiers use drugs due to sheer boredom.

One soldier described how the tedium of waiting for something to happen in the midst of war is worse than the fear of potential adverse reactions to drugs. According to Verstka, approximately one in 10 soldiers smoke marijuana, while others turn to hard drugs like ‘salt,’ a synthetic drug known as alpha-PVP.

Easy Access and Acceptance

These substances are readily available, and drug paraphernalia is often found in Russian trenches.

Couriers, including locals, unwitting volunteers, and even the soldiers themselves, transport the substances and equipment, including ‘gunpowder’ (amphetamine), ‘pinecones’ (marijuana), and salt, to the front lines.

It’s suggested that higher-ranking officials often turn a blind eye to drug use, as long as it doesn’t disrupt others and remains within the confines of the trenches.

The Financial Incentive

Russian soldiers can earn significantly higher salaries during wartime, attracting not only those serving their country but also individuals with drug habits looking to finance their addiction.

The soldier’s monthly salary can be up to 200,000 roubles (£1,700), four times the country’s average wage. Some soldiers use their war-earned income to order drugs via messaging apps like Telegram.

Consequences and Risky Behavior

Drug use, particularly of ‘salt,’ can lead to paranoia, hallucinations, aggression, and self-injury. The high prices of these drugs are attributed to the risky delivery route.

The drug culture among Russian soldiers seems to be growing, with incidents of soldiers visibly high. In one case, a soldier had an overdose during a military assignment.

The Impact of Boredom

While not all soldiers may partake in drug use, many emphasize the overwhelming boredom they experience in the trenches. Some soldiers reported rarely firing their guns, highlighting the main issue they face on the front lines.

A Broader Perspective

This trend isn’t exclusive to Russian soldiers, as reports also mention drug use among Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol before the city was occupied by Russia.

The video evidence circulated on Telegram, showing uniformed soldiers smoking marijuana, raises concerns about the psychological toll of war and the coping mechanisms adopted by soldiers.

The issue of drug use among Russian soldiers remains a concerning and complex challenge, with the root causes including boredom and the lure of financial incentives.

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