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BRICS anti-drug agencies to exchange liaison officers

July 20, 2014, 0:40 updated at: July 20, 2014, 2:13 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, July 19. /ITAR-TASS/. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have agreed to set up a group on narcotic drugs and to exchange liaison officers.

“The decision was adopted at the BRICS summit to create a group on drugs. BRICS countries have an enormous political and financial potential which can be used to solve the priority task of eliminating the world’s two drug production centres in Latin America (makes cocaine) and in Afghanistan (makes heroin),” Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN) chief Viktor Ivanov said on Saturday, July 19.

He noted that almost 300 tonnes of cocaine were supplied to Brazil annually and farther to the European Union and Russia via African countries, and Afghan heroin was a serious problem for all countries, including India, China and South Africa.

“We agreed [with other BRICS countries] to exchange liaison officers. We already have our representatives in China and will soon post them in Brazil, South Africa and India,” Ivanov said.

He also suggested making the elimination of two planetary drug production centres a priority millennium development goal.

“BRICS countries are strong, but transit through less strong countries destroys the economy of BRICS states and prompts the expansion of planetary groups. Basically, this is what piracy lives off as drugs give them up to 90% of income,” Ivanov said.

In his opinion, BRICS countries can lead the way in the fight against heroin.

Up to 30 tonnes of high-concentration heroin are brought into Russia annually, Ivanov said earlier.

Afghan heroin has literally flooded Russia and the European Union. Ninety percent of all drug addicts in Russia - about 660,000 people according to official information and 2-5 million according to unofficial estimates - are addicted to Afghan heroin and opium. Afghanistan makes so many opiates in just one year that it can kill 10 million drug users. Moreover, Afghanistan has turned into the sole producer of almost all of the world’s heroin before the eyes of the 140,000-strong military armada from nearly 50 countries which ventured to help that country cope with terrorism and build democracy.

Heroin production in Afghanistan has increased 40 times over the past ten years. More than 90% of all heroin is made in Afghanistan. The Helmand province alone makes more than 60% of it, Ivanov said.

The FSKN said earlier that drug production had increased 44 times in recent years with narcotics flooding Russia mainly from Afghanistan and Central Asian countries.

FSKN deputy chief Oleg Safonov said that gobal drug turnover had reached 450-600 billion U.S. dollars, he said.

The FSKN “undertakes colossal efforts to stop drug trafficking from Central Asian” but “police alone cannot solve the problem,” he said.

Ivanov said 90% of drug users in Russia were heroin dependent.

About eight million people in Russia use narcotics and 7-20% of schoolchildren have tried them at least once, Ivanov said.

Experts say that there are about 2.5 million drug addicts in Russia. About 600,000 drug users are registered at medical facilities.

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