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Monitoring of addictive behavior among Kharkiv youth: conceptualization of empirical observations

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The article dwells upon the data of 22-year supervision within the framework of the research project Substance Use Monitoring Among Youth in Kharkiv City “Youth and Drugs” conducted by sociologists from Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs. The surveys were implemented in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2016 with sample sizes ranging from 1,000 to 1,500 subjects. During the whole 22-year period youth aged 17-25 years old have participated in the surveys. The sampling error has not exceeded 2,8%. Data has been collected at random educational establishments in Kharkiv with the standardized self-administered questionnaire, including 100-110 items in different years.

Additionally, as a part of monitoring, the 1999 survey included a component of retrospective trends of substance use since World War II. The 5 groups of 500 male subjects, who were aged 20 in 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and students of 1990s had answered the questions. In 2001 a cross-cultural survey of student youth have been implemented with the identical measures for youths of Kharkiv and Dresden (Germany) N=1000. In 2007, a survey “Relationship between Substance Use and Criminality” was conducted among prisoners of Kharkiv region. The problem of drugs and other psychoactive substances use among youth of Kharkiv in 1995-2016 years is considered in this article. The patterns of regular and irregular consumption of various addictive substances are analyzed. Authors note four basic tendencies of drug addiction spread. The first is negative dynamics of substance use among youth. The second is growth of “designer drugs” popularity. The third is growth of the number of regular users of cannabis, tobacco and alcohol. Fourth is an internal transformation at the market of drugs.

The spread of drugs among young people has entered the stage of stabilization, but there are new drugs appeared and consumption of the most accessible of them tends to increase regularity.

The theoretical model of sygmoidal epidemiological dynamics of the additive behavior distribution and epidemiological waves of additive behavior theory are proposed.

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