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Tons of illicit drugs seized in Russia annually

June 26, 2014, 11:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to the Federal Drug Control Service, some 8 million people use drugs in Russia
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© ITAR-TASS/Gennady Khamelyanin

MOSCOW, June 26. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russia's law enforcement agencies annually seize tons of narcotics.

Despite an increasing inflow of narcotic substances to Russia, the drug addiction situation has for the first time given us grounds for cautious optimism, Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) director Viktor Ivanov said.

Not long ago, the number of drug addicts in Russia was growing fast: for five years, by 3 million people, with the toll taken by illicit drugs growing annually by 5,000-6,000 people.

“The figure is frightening today as well - nearly 100,000 deaths each year. But for the first time, this growth has been stopped,” Ivanov said.

According to the FSKN, some 8 million people use drugs in Russia.

Thursday, June 26 is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. 

The Russian Federal Security Service’s (FSB) Public Relations Center told ITAR-TASS that “analysis of materials being obtained by the Russian FSB shows that the unending escalation of narcotic and psychotropic substances smuggling into Russia graphically demonstrates the necessity of active cooperation between all law enforcement bodies.”

The interaction should be between law enforcers “in the country and abroad as a key mechanism to counteract international drug crime.”

Jointly with partners from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS, a loose association of former Soviet republics), the FSB carried out eight international “controlled deliveries”, with more than 135 kilograms of drugs seized from illegal turnover.

In 2013, the FSB and other Russian law enforcers confiscated over 2.1 tons of illicit drugs. In the first half of 2014, they seized more than 1.4 tons of narcotic substances, including over 590 kilos of heroin.


Over 120,000 people serve terms in prisons for drug-related crimes

Russia’s Interior Ministry that reveals more than 60% of all drug-related crimes, told ITAR-TASS that over the first five months of 2014, internal affairs bodies revealed more than 64,600 crimes and seized some 4 tons of narcotic, psychotropic and potent substances; about 35,000 people who committed drug crimes were established.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Penitentiary Service, Kristina Belousova, told ITAR-TASS that over 122,000 people serve their terms in prisons for drug-related crimes.

“In the penitentiary system, 49,000 convicts are subject to regular medical check-ups conducted by addiction psychiatrists. Over 6,000 of them undergo drug addiction treatment. For drug addicts, there are several treatment penal colonies,” Belousova said.


Customs Service against drug trafficking

The Federal Customs Service (FTS) also makes its contribution to the fight against drug trafficking. Since the year start, customs officers have confiscated 357 kilograms of narcotic substances. Over the first half of 2014, customs officers have stopped nine attempts of cocaine smuggling, with more than 23 kilos of the drug seized from illegal international turnover.

The Russian customs service says there are attempts to transfer large batches of drugs by air; the narcotics are confiscated in airports.

The FSKN and FTS emphasize that Afghanistan remains the key producer and supplier of drugs of the opium group. According to the FSKN, some 30 tons of high-concentrated heroin, or over 100 million single doses, are taken into Russia over one year.

Russian customs officials also block attempts to smuggle into Russia narcotics from the Baltic states, Western and Eastern Europe where “a considerable volume of the global production of synthetic drugs is concentrated.”

The FSB’s Border Guard Service told ITAR-TASS that last year, attempts to illegally move across the state border narcotic substances were mainly made at the Russian-Kazakh section of the border and at the St. Petersburg direction.

“Some 320 kilograms of narcotic and psychotropic substances were seized by border guard bodies during an attempt to illegally move them across the state border,” the Border Guard Service said.

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