Russian Authorities Seized Two-Thirds Less Drugs Last Year

MOSCOW, February 19 (RIA Novosti) – About 38 tons of drugs were seized in Russia last year, about a third of the 106 tons confiscated the year before, according to figures cited by the country’s drug control chief on Wednesday.

But heroin seizures rose 13 percent compared with the previous year, and hashish seizures grew 28 percent, Viktor Ivanov, head of Russia’s Drug Control Service, told the Federation Council.

Ivanov last week warned of an increase in the use of synthetic drugs and cocaine. Some 100 new types of these drugs were designed by chemists last year, he said in a statement.

Russia holds the first place worldwide for the number of heroin addicts per capita. The number of drug addicts in the country is estimated at 8.5 million people, or almost 6 percent of the total population, and an estimated 90 percent of them are heroin addicts, a government report said last year.

Some 30,000 Russians die from heroin use every year, according to official statistics.

Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern about a surge in terrorism and drug smuggling out of Afghanistan after US-led coalition forces leave the country by the end of this year.

A UN report published late last year noted that the area under cultivation for opium poppies in Afghanistan rose in 2013 by a third to 209,000 hectares.

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