SOCHI, May 30 (Itar-Tass) - According to the existing system of monitoring as many as 8.5 million people in Russia use drugs, the chief of the federal drug control service FSKN, Viktor Ivanov told a news conference following a meeting of the Russian-US working group for resistance to the illegal circulation of drugs.
“About half a million people take opiates of Afghan origin,” he said. Narcologists warn that addiction to opium is the worst of all.
Ivanov said synthetic drugs today were a great challenge to humanity. Every year about 50 new types of such drugs hit the black market.
“Now there have appeared some synthetic narcotics that are a thousand times stronger than heroin. They are a great risk to society. This is a theme for discussion by the Russian-American group,” Ivanov said.
He remarked that the number of drug abusers was reducing slowly but surely. A cardinal change for the better will occur only when a state-run comprehensive program for the rehabilitation and re-socialization of drug abusers will be up and running.
“Policing and punitive methods alone will fail to address the problem of drug addiction. There must be systemic work across the nation for the social correction of the behavior of drug addicts at rehabilitation centers. After the beginning of this program the number of drug addiction will go down by 30 percent. At the moment there are just 1,700 beds at all of Russia’s rehabilitation centers. This is virtually nothing next to the number of drug abusers,” Ivanov said.
At the moment Russia has over 500 non-government rehabilitation centers, which show good results. One of them is in Sochi. Its performance is quite remarkable. Twelve months after a course of treatment three quarters of its patients still have remission and some rid themselves of the dependence on drugs altogether.