VLADIVOSTOK, March 16 (Itar-Tass) – About eight million people in Russia use narcotics and 7-20 percent of schoolchildren have tried them at least once, Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) chief Viktor Ivanov said on Saturday, March 16.
“The Service’s records list 400,000 people who have been arrested before, and some 100,000-200,000 persons face criminal charges annually for drug-related crimes,” he told Vesti v Subbotu on Russia One television channel.
Speaking of ways to fight drug addiction in Russia, Ivanov admitted that punitive measures alone cannot solve the problem. “Even if we put all of them [drug addicts] away in jail, we won’t cure them,” he 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.
There are 20 percent more drug addicts in Russia than there were in the former Soviet Union.
“Drug addiction increased by 20 percent in 20 years, but this growth occurred mainly in the 1990s,” the FSKN chief said earlier.
According to Ivanov, the number of drug addicts has practically not increased over the past ten years. “The number of drug users has increased by about 2 percent [in the 2000s]. But this cannot appease us because their number of very big, including those of heroin users,” he said.
Experts say that there are about 2.5 million drug addicts in Russia. About 600,000 drug users are registered at medical facilities.
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office confirmed that the number of drug users is not decreasing. There are more than a half million officially registered drug users alone. At the same time, according to specialists from the National Research Centre of the Ministry of Health and Social Development, their actual number is as big as 2.3 million, or nearly 2 percent of the country’s population. These are most socially active people at the age of 18 to 39 (70 percent), the Prosecutor General’s Office said.