Belarus has a total of 9.5 million inhabitants (2009). By now, 73% of the population live in the cities, as it is easier to find jobs there. Following the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl general health and agriculture are still severely affected, as almost 70% of the radioactive fallout came down on Belarussian territory. Since the 1990s one particular problem has gained more and more notoriety in society: The number of drug addicts sky-rocketed. In 1994, there were less than 1,000 drug addicts in all of Belarus, by 2009 the number had grown to 40,000. This makes the country one of the former CIS states most severely affected by drug related problems.
In 2010, Svetlagorsk had 6,153 registered drug addicts, making it the highest per capita rate. The average age of drug abusers keeps going down continually. Two thirds are between 15 and 25 years old. Many of them contract HIV through their drug abuse. Approx. 81% of people who are HIV positive are drug addicts.