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Moscow Drug Deaths Double In 2012

The head of the Moscow branch of Russia's Federal Drug Control Service says drug-related deaths in the capital have doubled since last year.

Vyacheslav Davydov said on July 17 that the city has already registered 202 deaths by overdose -- twice the number from the same period in 2011.

Davydov attributed the rise to the use of "homemade" drugs and drugs of inferior quality.

His comments came as federal drug officers said they had confiscated more than eight kilograms of highly concentrated Afghan heroin in the southwestern Siberian region of Kemerovo.

The officers claim the bust has helped cut off a "major international" smuggling ring from Central Asia.

In a related development, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree this week ordering a 15 percent staff cut at the drug service by 2016.

Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS