MOSCOW, November 28 (Itar-Tass) — Russian regions should submit their suggestions concerning the implementation of the president’s national rehabilitation programme for drug addicts by January 15, 2013, Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) chief Viktor Ivanov said at a meeting of the State Anti-Narcotics Committee on Wednesday, November 28.
President Vladimir Putin has ordered that the state interdepartmental programme “Complex Rehabilitation and Re-socialisation of Narcotic Consumers” ne drafted by March 30, 2013.
“I suggest making the year 2013 a year of completion of a national rehabilitation system, overhauling the whole anti-narcotic legislation and taking decisive practical steps,” Ivanov said.
Ivanov earlier suggested fighting drugs on three fronts at once.
“I suggest that the following three areas of joint work to denarcotise society be made the main ones: undermining the narco-business infrastructure, undermining the narco-business’ economic foundation, and preventing drug addiction,” Ivanov said.
He believes that the ultimate task should be distracting people as much as possible from drugs through preventive measures, timely exposure of drug addiction and effective social rehabilitation and re-socialisation programmes.
“Such mechanism is based on administrative penalties for drug users, be it driving in a drugged state or other presence in society in such a state,” Ivanov said.
The Interior Ministry and FSKN expose 150,000-200,000 drug addicts annually, and only 2 percent of them are officially registered as drug addicts, while all others remain outside of the medical community’s attention.
Experts say that there are about 2.5 million drug addicts in Russia. About 600,000 drug users are registered at medical facilities.
Ivanov suggested creating a national system of rehabilitation for drug addicts in order to fight the spread of narcotics in Russia more effectively.
He said public organisations that treat drug addicts might get government grants next year.
Ivanov said this would require treatment standards to be worked out. “We need standards that have to be worked out at the federal level. Organisations that will work in accordance with these standards have to be supported by the government,” he said.
“In order to reduce the number of drug users, we have to create a full-fledged national system of rehabilitation for drug addicts in order to bring them back to society and re-socialise them,” Ivanov said.
He admitted that there is not enough help and support to drug addicts in Russia.
Ivanov believes that such support can have the form of governmental grants.
He recalled that the FSKN calls for a national anti-drug budget in Russia. “This budget will have room for support to non-governmental organisations engaged in rehabilitation,” he said.
Ivanov also hopes that regions, too, will support such centres.
According to Ivanov, there are around 600-700 non-governmental organisations in Russia that deal with this problem. “This basically means that there are up to ten of them in each region,” he added.
At the same time, he stressed that Russia had no plans to introduce compulsory treatment for drug addicts.
“If we make treatment compulsory, people will try to evade it. Besides, specialists believe that drug addiction cannot be cured by force,” he said.
“It is necessary to bring these people back to normal life because otherwise they will serve as a base for recruiting new drug dealers,” Ivanov said.
He stressed the need to move away from punitive measures and focus instead on the use of social mechanisms to fight drug proliferation and drug addiction in society.
The Russian Prosecutor General's Office believes that volunteers can help fight the spread of drugs in the country. It also believes it necessary to step up preventive work in schools, colleges and universities.
According to official statistics, 547,081 people are registered at drug abuse clinics in Russia, and another 196,700 people are registered as potential drug users.