The Los Angeles Times reports:
The young man named Anton is a member of Russia’s “lost generation.”
He’s the son of middle-class, college-educated engineers; he studied at a good university and became a truck sales manager in Moscow. He’s also a 28-year-old heroin addict.
In the years since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan triggered a sharp increase in poppy cultivation, Russia has been flooded with heroin. The drug has crept along a trail stretching from Afghanistan through Tajikistan and other Central Asian nations and over the Russian border, turning this country into the world’s top consumer of heroin, the government says.
The drug has spread like fire through a country uniquely unqualified to cope with its dangers: Narcotics were largely absent during Soviet times, and most people are still unaware of the risk of heroin addiction, even as an estimated 83 Russians a day die by overdosing on the drug, government figures show.