Eastern Europe Shooting Up Under a Red Star

From Moscow to Prague, drug abuse comes out into the open

In Hungary, homeless addicts jam the underground pedestrian passageways of Budapest's Moscow Square, and dealers ply the stairways, offering everything from hashish to morphine-laced pills. In Poland, groups of addicts travel to the outskirts of Warsaw to buy sacks of poppy stalks from farmers, which they use to concoct homemade heroin. And in the Soviet Union, a young man rolls up his sleeve to show television viewers an inner forearm riddled with needle marks.

For years, East-bloc officials have claimed that drug abuse did not exist in their countries, insisting that addiction was a product of "decadent" capitalism. Not anymore. In...

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