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    MOSCOW, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - About 8% of young people in Russia are addicted to drugs, Alexander Mikhailov, the deputy director of the Federal Drug Control Service, said at a press conference on Tuesday. At the press conference, Mr. Mikhailov cited data from the Ministry of Health, which said 7.9% of 12-20 year olds use drugs everyday, 14% use drugs once every two weeks, and 22.6% have used drugs 1-3 times.

    According to Mr. Mikhailov, recent surveys of schools and universities in Russia have shown that more than 3% of students and 4.8% of university students are drug addicts. Sixteen percent of students and 30% of university students use drugs occasionally.

    The problem of the spread of drug addiction is one of the most serious problems facing Russia.

    Everyday in Russia, the federal drug control service opens an average of more than 70 criminal cases involving drugs. Since July 2003, drug control officials have investigated 23,000 crimes and opened 18,000 criminal cases, 70% of which are serious crimes, Mr. Mikhailov said. He said he was disturbed by the spread of drug addiction in small rural towns.

    Speaking about cooperation with foreign special services in sphere of combating drug smuggling, Mr. Mikhailov said that Russia would be represented in a number of countries in the near future, in particular, Afghanistan.

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