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MOSCOW, October 18 (Itar-Tass) The number of teenage drug addicts in Russian has gone down by 60 percent in the past five years, or after the State Anti-drug Committee was established, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvsaid on Thursday.
The committee was established by a presidential degree of October 18, 2007. It is made up of 30 top-ranking officials from ministries and agencies, both of the law-enforcement and socio-economic blocs. The chairman of the Anti-drug Committee is the chief of Russia’s Federal Service for Control of Drugs, Viktor Ivanov.
“Over the past five years, the number of drug users among children under 14 years of age has gone down by 37.5 percent, while the number of drug addicts among such children has decreased by 61 percent. The most difficult age category is teenagers of 15-16 years: here the number of drug abusers is down by 63 percent,” Skvotsova said.
Over the years of the committee’s existence, a number of law and by-laws have been passed, including a federal law on alternative treatment, drug treatment and drug testing procedures have been fixed, she noted.
“A program of psychological and toxicological testing has been developed jointly with the anti-drug service and the ministry of education,” she said. According to Skvortsova, anti-drug efforts have been enhanced under the national project Health. Thus, in the past 18 months, as many as 702 medical centres have been equipped with special drug-detecting equipment to expose early stages of drug abuse.
The committee is a tool to implement Russia’s state anti-drug police, Viktor Ivanov noted. More than 100,000 young people die in Russian each year because of drugs, he cited statistics. “Although medical statistics state that these deaths are caused by kidney, heart, or liver diseases, the real cause are drugs,” he stressed.
Over the five years of its existence, the State Anti-drug Committee has solved more than 50 major issues, adopted a strategy of the state anti-drug policy, drug addict monitoring system, and launched a rehab and socialization system for drug abusers, he noted.