Medvedev moves to penalize drug abuse, institute mandatory treatment

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday instructed the government to submit proposals criminalizing drug abuse and instituting mandatory treatment for addicts, the Kremlin press service said.

Persons convicted of minor drug related crimes will have the choice of being admitted to a rehabilitation center instead serving a custodial sentence in jail.

Medvedev also instructed new legislation be introduced to regulate drug testing of schoolchildren and college students.

It was not immediately clear whether tests will be mandatory.

Russia’s Health Ministry said in March it was drafting legislation that would see schoolchildren and students tested for drugs but that drug checks in schools, colleges and workplaces would be non-compulsory.

Underage students are to be tested with their parents’ consent.

Around 30,000 Russians are believed to die from drug abuse every year, while the country’s HIV rate is on the rise.

Russia has an estimated 2.5 million drug users, including one-time users, occasional users and drug addicts.

MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) 

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