State program for drug rehabilitation to be drafted by April 2013

The Russian government has ordered the drafting of a state program for drug rehabilitation, Federal Drug Control Service Director Viktor Ivanov said at a Moscow conference on Wednesday.

"President Vladimir Putin responded to the initiative made by Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova and me and ordered the drafting before March 30, 2013, of a state interdepartmental program for rehabilitation and re-socialization of persons addicted to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances," he said.

"Truly, this is a keynote decision of the chief of state," he said.

Proposals with regard to "anti-drug laws" will be made at a meeting of the State Anti-Drug Committee on Dec. 18, Ivanov said.

In his words, the existent drug rehabilitation system does not work. Russia has non-governmental and Orthodox rehab centers, which cure drug addicts. But about 500 centers of the sort are unregulated, "have a small capacity and are not supported by the state," he said.

Ivanov said earlier that Russia had become its No. 1 heroin consumer in the world. According to the Federal Drug Control Service, up to 100,000 people in Russia die of drugs yearly.

Ivanov said in July that, judging by the service's latest survey, 8.5 million Russians use narcotics regularly or sporadically. Some 18.5 million Russians have tried drugs at least once in their lives.

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