Russia Hooked on Heroin

Viktor Ivanov, the head of Russia's anti-narcotics service has admitted that his country is the world's biggest consumer of Afghan heroin, the Independent writes. Russia has 2.5 million addicts out of a population 140 million strong—about one addict for every 50 working age Russians. Addiction costs Russia up to 3 percent of its annual gross domestic product, Ivanov estimated. Thirty thousand Russians die from drug use each year. Ivanov said he was in favor of spraying with pesticides Afghanistan's poppy fields, which produce 93 percent of the world's heroin and have seen 44-fold increase in production since 2001, and blamed the war on terror for Russia's increasing addiction. A Human Rights Watch report has criticized Russia's drug treatment programs, which ban methadone therapy, regard needle exchange points as controversial, and put addicts who ask for help on a "narcological register" that is available to the police.