Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke out against compulsory drug addiction and alcohol treatment on Thursday.
“It is necessary to persuade a person, to bring up his inner motivation to overcome this ordeal,” Putin told a regional conference of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party in Yekaterinburg.
The premier stressed the importance of the state’s role in helping drug addicts. “It is important that a person should not feel abandoned…that his nearest and dearest, parents, school, colleagues and the state do not abandon him.”
In mid-April, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev suggested treatment instead of jail term for drug addicts. Medvedev then said the treatment should not be an alternative, but understood as a means of punishment.
Russian Ministry of Health’s chief alcohol and drug abuse specialist Yevgeny Bryun also proposed introducing compulsory drug tests to those applying for jobs.
Around 30,000 Russians die from heroin abuse every year, and the country’s HIV rate is skyrocketing.
Russia has borne the brunt of the ill-effects of the Afghan drug trade, and officials in Moscow have in the past accused coalition forces in Afghanistan of not doing enough to curb drug production there, which helped to sustain the estimated 2.5 million drug users in Russia.