Narcotics flood Russia

In ten years, the number of drug addicts in Russia can reach 35 million people.

Such data has been revealed by vice-chairman of Government's Drug Control Alexander Mikhailov in the course of a press-conference Thursday. According to him, such forecast has been completed based on an entire array of calculations made by several International organizations.

“Currently, according to the experts, a number of drug addicts in Russia is nearing 4 million people. However, only several hundred of them are officially registered in hospitals,” remarked the vice-chairman.

Alexander Mikhailov also added that Government Drug Control had confiscated 11 tons of narcotics and had instituted 14 000 legal proceedings in the second half of 2003. 1,5 thousands of those cases had already been transferred to court.

According to Mikhailov, approximately the same amount of narcotics is expected to hit Russia in 2004. Our main drug importer is Afghanistan. According to the latest forecast, Afghanistan is expected to produce approximately 3600 tons of heroin next year.

“We have to realize that International criminal organizations are in the middle of implementing a massive narco-aggression against Russia,” remarked Mikhailov.

Statistics of the Drug Control organization suggest that a number of drug addicts in Russia has increased by 9 times in the course of the past few years. Nearly 70 000 people die of drug use in the country annually.

When talking about the actual penalty for the illegal drug turnover, Mikhailov has stated that courts often issue relatively mild verdicts.

“We do not always have adequate results in courts. For instance, when a person is sentenced to 8 years of public services, this does not represent justice but a mere mockery,” said he.

Mikhailov has informed that amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation will take effect March 12th, 2004. The amendments are meant to toughen existing penalties for drug business. Some clauses of the Criminal Code are still in need of corrections.

“For instance, a mother with many children is practically set free after being convicted in selling drugs. However, we assume that her isolation will be eventually best for her kids, so that they would grow in a drug-free environment,” said Mikhailov.

He has also said that Russian law enforcement experiences hard times when dealing with ethnic criminal organizations that sell drugs. “Nowadays, Russia does not have any trained specialists in this area. Therefore, without the language, it is virtually impossible to reach success,” added a representative of the Drug Control.
According to him, Russia is doing drug business with several ethnic groups. The largest of them are Gypsies and Tajiks.

Source: RIA “Novosti”

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Author`s name Evgeniya Petrova