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MOSCOW, October 5 (Itar-Tass) — The Federal Service for Control of Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Circulation (FSKN) is drawing proposals on amending the Criminal Code, which envision criminal responsibility for regular use of narcotics.
"The discussion on criminalization of use of drugs has been on for a long time, the issue of the expediency of introducing criminal responsibility is again broadly discussed," head of the FSKN's investigation department Sergei Yakovlev said during a "round table" discussion at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University (MGTU) on Wednesday.
"The FSKN is drawing a number of proposals to amend Russian legislation, envisioning responsibility for systemic use of narcotics and the possibility to use - as principal or alternative punishment of the persons who committed drug-related crimes of medium gravity -- mandatory treatment to wean them off the drugs," Yakovlev said.
He underlined that the FSKN suggests not viewing criminal responsibility as an end in itself, but as an additional legal mechanism capable of inducing addicts to give up their habit.
"To implement this concept, it is expedient to add new norms to the Criminal Code setting criminal responsibility for use of drugs if committed by persons, who earlier faced administrative responsibility for similar actions," the FSKN official went on to say.
Exemption from responsibility due to medical treatment is proposed in the section of the amendments on alternative punishment for persons, who have committed drug-related crimes of low gravity.
"Therefore, a person can be exempt from criminal responsibility for the first time, if he or she voluntarily takes treatment after the commission of the crime," Yakovlev said.
He reminded that according to experts' estimates, there are 2 to 2.5 million drug users in Russia at present. Other estimates put this figure at six million.
"It shows that more than 5 percent of the country's able-bodies population are either asocial, or on the way toward personal degradation," Yakovlev noted.
The FSKN reports more than 200,000 drug trafficking crimes each year. Of those, 80 percent are serious and very serious.
The drug control service confiscates some 40 tons of narcotics every year, including some 3.5 tons of heroin. About 100,000 people are convicted for drug related crimes every year.
Another FSKN official, head of the department for inter-departmental interaction Vladimir Golubovsky , said the drug addiction problem has a very negative impact on the demographic situation.
"The increasing number of drug addicts should be regarded as one of the main threats to national security; compared with 1990, Russia's population has decreased by more than six million," Golubovsky said underlining that narcotics are largely to be blamed for the loss.
Among the reasons contributing to the spread of drugs is the crisis of spirituality and lack of positive ideals in the public mind, scanty opportunities to realize oneself in the profession you like, low ratings of healthy lifestyle and the influence of criminal communities on the drug situation.
More than 500,000 Russians are registered as drug addicts. Of those, 90 percent use heavy drugs such as heroin.
Citing the statistics of the Ministry for Public Health and Social Development, Golubovsky said some 8,000 people die of overdose in Russia each year, but experts believe the real figure is much higher.
The State Antidrug Committee is setting up a special working group to study the causes of drug-related deaths.
Earlier, FSKN chief Viktor Ivanov said his service was concerned over a high mortality rate among young people.