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‘Blessing in disguise’: Putin says COVID border closures curbed drug smuggling into Russia

The Russian leader warned that drug trafficking attempts would renew once the borders reopen

NOVO-OGARYOVO, November 16./TASS/. The flow of drugs into Russia declined by over 30% after the country had closed the state borders amid the coronavirus pandemic, President Vladimir Putin told a session of the Security Council on Monday.

"Practically all state borders across the globe have been shut down this year due to the pandemic. As a result - a blessing in disguise - drug smuggling into Russia dropped by more than one-third in the first half of 2020," the president said. The Russian leader warned, however, that drug trafficking attempts would renew once the borders reopen. "This means that we must start thinking now and take additional measures to strengthen the border and customs control," he stressed.

The unwavering and uncompromising fight against drug trade remains a top priority for the nation’s law enforcement and intelligence services, the Russian leader highlighted. "The results and figures must be far greater on this subject than what we have right now," Putin noted, adding that this issue remains in the spotlight of the annual expanded sessions of the respective agencies’ staff.

He also reiterated that drug addiction is a disease that is hard to cure. "It cannot be surmounted quickly, right at the drop of a hat. That is why, it is important to update the system of medical assistance to people battling drug addiction, to continue supplying up-to-date equipment to medical organizations providing drug treatment, bolster their personnel, and adopt the best practices making it possible to detect the disease at the early stages, when aid is timely and most effective," Putin concluded.