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Number of drug addicts in Russia reaches 2.5 million


MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - Up to 2.5 million Russians including 140,000 minors are addicted to illegal drugs, the head of the Federal Drug Control Service said on Tuesday.

"The overall number of drug addicts in our country is between 2 and 2.5 million people between the ages of 18 and 39," Viktor Ivanov said. "There are more than 140,000 minors registered in rehabilitation centers who are suffering from drug addiction."

According to Ivanov, around 30,000 individuals die annually from drug-related causes in Russia. He said that one of the major problems is heroin being trafficked out of Afghanistan through the "porous and unequipped border with Kazakhstan."

Ivanov said that after becoming addicted to illegal opiates, people live for an average of five to seven years. Causes of death can vary from contaminated drugs and needles to drug-related crimes.

Some 38 tons of narcotic substances were confiscated in Russia by narcotics police in 2008, and approximately 7,000 drug gangs were detained, arrested or killed, according to Ivanov.

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