Primary Source

Drug Abuse is Suicide


One of Mikhail Gorbachev's most famous reform movements was glasnost' (openness), which allowed partial freedom of the press to address social problems and corruption within the Soviet Union. Among the issues raised during the glasnost' era of the Soviet Union were public health concerns, which became a prominent issue by the late 1980s. Drug abuse, for example, could be publicly discussed for the first time inside the Soviet Union as a result of glasnost'. This poster directly addresses the social crisis created by drug abuse with its simple slogan ("Drug Abuse is Suicide") and its clear picture depicting a needle. The new ideas of the glasnost' era allowed social reformers to represent drug abuse as a personal problem (note the use of "suicide") rather than as a state problem. Drug abuse was a crime against yourself, not against the Communist Party.

This source is a part of the Soviet Health Posters teaching module.


Courtesy of the Wende Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

How to Cite This Source

"Drug Abuse is Suicide," in World History Commons, [accessed June 30, 2022]