PUBLI : Yaël Tibi-Lévy, Daria Serebryakova et Marie Jauffret-Roustide, « Migration experiences, life conditions, and drug use practices of Russian-speaking drug users who live in Paris : a mixed-method analysis from the ANRS-Coquelicot study », Harm Reduction Journal, Août 2020

  • Liste complète des auteurs : Yaël Tibi-Lévy, Daria Sere­bryakova, Marie Jauf­fret-Roustide, ANRS Coquelicot Study Group
  • Article en open access sur le site de la revue



After the collapse of the Soviet Union at the begin­ning of the 1990s, people who inject drugs spiked in Eastern Europe. Facing local repres­sion and an array of factors encour­aging emigra­tion, some users have migrated to France. This popu­la­tion now make up to a third of the patient list of some harm reduc­tion services in Paris. This article aims to present orig­inal data on the sociode­mo­graphic profiles of these users, on their migra­tion trajec­tory, their life condi­tions, and on the evolu­tion of their drug use prac­tices since arriving in Paris.


Data were collected as part of the ANRS-Coquelicot Survey, an HIV and HCV sero­preva­lence study among French-speaking people who use drugs. A sub-sample of Russian-speaking drug users who had relo­cated from Eastern Europe to live in Paris completed a quan­ti­ta­tive ques­tion­naire (N = 150) and a qual­i­ta­tive semi-struc­tured inter­view (N = 20). The survey aimed to describe partic­i­pants’ back­grounds, and a thematic analysis of inter­views was conducted to explore partic­i­pants’ migra­tion histo­ries, their life condi­tions in Paris, and their drug use prac­tices before and after arriving in France.


This study high­lights the great vulner­a­bility of the partic­i­pating popu­la­tion, often following a loss of social status after migrating to France. Another impor­tant finding is that partic­i­pants had better access to harm reduc­tion tools and reduced their risk of expo­sure to HIV and HCV infec­tions linked to needle sharing. Although 60% said they had already shared a syringe in their life­time (49.9% of them in their home country), the propor­tions shrank to 13.9% after they arrived in France and to 9.3% in the month before the study, a propor­tion that is lower than among French-speaking people who use drugs.


Our main find­ings on the profiles and behav­iors of the study popu­la­tion lead us to make two recom­men­da­tions : to offer stronger global care to these users in Paris and to reform drug policy in their home coun­tries by inte­grating it into a public health approach.