Russia’s drug controls chief, Viktor Ivanov, revealed new information on the extent of drug abuse in the country of some five million drug users.
“We have about five million drug users,” Ivanov, head of Russia’s federal drug control service, said at a government meeting on Tuesday.
“Not all of them have become real addicts,” he added, however.
There have also been hundreds of thousands of HIV and hepatitis infections as a result of rampant drug abuse in the country.
Ivanov said while about 100,000 people are prosecuted for drug dealing every year, there remained a permanent “social order” for drugs in Russia.
Russia has been one of the countries hardest hit by heroin production in Central Asia, and President Dmitry Medvedev has called Afghan heroin a threat to Russia’s security.