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Drug use up almost tenfold in Russia since 1990

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Drug use in Russia has increased almost tenfold since 1990, the head of the Federal Drug Control Service said on Wednesday.

MOSCOW, December 3 (RIA Novosti) - Drug use in Russia has increased almost tenfold since 1990, the head of the Federal Drug Control Service said on Wednesday.

The number of drug addicts has been growing every year, Viktor Ivanov told a meeting of the country's drugs control committee. "In 2005, there were 60,000 registered drug addicts, 70,000 in 2006, and 78,000 in 2007."

Drug addiction costs the Russian economy around 1.5 trillion rubles ($54 billion) in losses each year, or 2.5% of GDP, he said. Up to 30,000 people die a year as a result of drug-related deaths in Russia, he earlier said.

The drug trade has become an acute problem for the Central Asian republics, especially for Tajikistan, a major gateway to Russia and neighboring countries for the continual flow of drugs from Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban regime was overthrown during the 2001 U.S.-led campaign, Afghanistan, with almost all its arable land being used to grow drugs remains the world's leading producer of heroin.

Drug production in Afghanistan has increased 44 times since the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was deployed in the country Ivanov said, stressing that the issue should be discussed at a session of the UN Security Council.

"It is essential for Russia that this issue is discussed at a UN Security Council session as it claims the lives of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands annually which is comparable to weapons of mass destruction," Ivanov said.

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