The head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service told a news conference in Moscow on Thursday that the number of Russians who regularly take illicit drugs is close to 9 million, RIA Novosti reports.
Ivanov added that his agency and the Interior Ministry are ready to implement a comprehensive database on drug users who have been involved in drug-related criminal activities. The effort would be part of a state sponsored rehabilitation program for drug addicts, which is expected to be drafted in March 2013.
Recently, the country toughened measures aimed at reducing drug addiction among its citizens. According to official statistics, some 30,000 to 40,000 Russians die each year due to drug-related illnesses.
“About 550,000 are under investigation or have been convicted for drug-trafficking and distribution of illicit drugs,” Ivanov added.
Russia holds the first place worldwide for the number of heroin addict per capita. More than 90 percent of drug addicts in the country use heroin. Its heroin market is valued at $6 billion while the country’s hashish market is estimated at $1.5 billion.