The main cause for the epidemic spread of drug abuse was the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many companies had to be closed. Mass unemployment led to poverty and lack of prospects for the future. On the other hand, during and immediately after Ukraine has become independent there was a phase of low state control. Lawless areas emerged and especially young people lacked orientation. Due to the fact that the Soviet ideology had also been a substitute for religion, the system of values deteriorated along with the old state.
Badly affected regions were those that had been the most industrialised in the country during the Soviet period, which now experienced a sudden downfall due to the collapse of the industry.
The need for drugs and the explosive increase of the drug market was facilitated by the effortless availability of drugs in Ukraine. This is presumably why drug abuse, and consequently the HIV epidemic, spread faster and wider in Ukraine than in other former Soviet republic. Why there have long been not only huge amounts of drugs, but also various kinds of drugs can be explained by: 1. Ukraine is a customary transit country for opium transport from the Middle East to Europe. 2. The soil is of good quality, and thus opium poppies flourish in the country. 3. Some Ukrainian cities are traditional locations for the chemical industry. On the other hand, the state has little control or only nominal oversight over the pharmaceutical industry.