Drug addiction, which has spread significantly across Russia over the past decade, poses a serious threat to the country's security, Russia's Federal Drug Control Service has said.
According to a statement issued by the drug watchdog on Wednesday, there are some 550,000 drug addicts officially registered in Russia, with unofficial estimates as high as 2.5 million accounting for almost 2% of Russia's 142-million population.
The statement said the number of drug addicts in Russia has risen "sharply" over the past 10 years, and the number of drug-related crimes has increased significantly.
"Taking into consideration the demographic crisis, which has hit almost all country's regions, further increase in numbers of drug addicts should be considered a major threat to the security of the Russian Federation," it said.
According to the Federal Drug Control Service, almost 75,000 Russians annually try drugs for the first time, with the annual death toll reaching 30,000.
Some 238,000 drug-related crimes were registered in Russia in 2009, which is 2.5% more than in 2008. Some 46 tons of drugs were seized across the country last year.
Russia is battling a rise in the flow of heroin from Afghanistan into its North Caucasus region. Afghanistan produces more than 90% of the world's opium, the main raw material for heroin and a major source of revenue for the Taliban-led insurgency in the country.
MOSCOW, March 11 (RIA Novosti)