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Official Says Number Of Drug Addicts In Russia Rising

A poppy field in Kandahar, Afghanistan
A poppy field in Kandahar, Afghanistan
MOSCOW -- The head of Russia's drug enforcement agency says the number of drug addicts in Russia has ballooned to 2.5 million in the past 10 years, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Viktor Ivanov said at a roundtable discussion in Moscow today that 90 percent of the drug addicts are addicted to heroin. He said 40,000 Russians die each year from drug-related deaths.

Ivanov said most of those dying are young people.

He added that simply arresting drug addicts is not enough to combat the problem. He said it is imperative that the government open up more treatment centers for addicts.

Some Russian politicians have said the international coalition of forces in Afghanistan are not doing enough to cut heroin production. The increase in recent years in production in Afghanistan -- the world's leading grower of opium poppies -- has led to greater availability of heroin and opium in Russia.