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The administration of addiction: the politics of medicine and opiate use in Soviet Tajikistan, 1924–1958

Latypov, A.; (2011) The administration of addiction: the politics of medicine and opiate use in Soviet Tajikistan, 1924–1958. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This dissertation analyses the politics of medicine and opiate use in Soviet Tajikistan since the establishment of this republic in 1924. The closing date of this dissertation, 1958, corresponds to the end of the era when the Communists proclaimed that they had ‘eliminated’ drug addiction in their territories. During this period, the mainstream Soviet position on opiate use was transformed from a view that it constituted ‘a survival of the backward past’ and an impediment to social progress, to the declaration that drug addiction disappeared within a few years of Bolshevik antidrug measures. Many Soviet commentators on drugs in Central Asia have taken this position at face value and explained the ‘elimination’ of addiction in Tajikistan in the following ways: in the absence of drug treatment facilities in Tajikistan, Tajik drug users were treated in neighbouring republics; drug use prevention strategies were successfully implemented through ‘cultural and sanitary enlightenment’ clubs. This dissertation will systematically challenge an array of assumptions which underpin contemporary understandings of the Communists’ responses to drug addiction in early Soviet Union, with particular focus on Tajikistan. The author will argue that, on the contrary, none of these treatment and prevention strategies were carried out in the way that the Soviet authorities declared. Using a wide range of archival documentation, this dissertation shows that drug use and users in Tajikistan were repressed in the course of an ‘administrative struggle’, which culminated during the years of the Great Terror in the late 1930s. The thesis looks broadly into the politics of drug use in early Soviet Union, at the ‘nexus’ between the medical profession, law enforcement bodies and other actors in the trade and consumption of drugs. It will make several historiographical interventions which are relevant to the understanding of contemporary drug policies and discourse in Central Asia.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The administration of addiction: the politics of medicine and opiate use in Soviet Tajikistan, 1924–1958
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Biosciences (Division of) > UCL Centre for the History of Medicine

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