Interfax: Expert says drug abuse rates in Russia not catastrophic, alcoholism much worse

Russian Drug Den File Photo

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – The official drug abuse figure in Russia stands at 650,000 people. Their number is down 9% for the first time ever, the Russian Health Ministry’s chief substance abuse specialist Yevgeny Bryun said.

“I cannot call drug abuse rates catastrophic. The alcoholism problem is much worse here. About 650,000 drug addicts have been registered in the country,” Bryun said at a press conference on Friday.

About 70,000 people no longer use drugs because they have been put in prison. “There is a correction factor of approximately 2.5, by which their number should be multiplied to calculate both registered and unregistered patients. We will never be able to make precise calculations and will only know about the registered cases,” he said.

The number of drug addicts went down by 9% for the first time ever, the specialist underlined. “The situation has somewhat stabilized. We cannot say it is catastrophic, rather the efforts of the government, law enforcement authorities, doctors and school teachers have brought results,” he said.

According to Bryun, there was a surge in drug abuse in the 1990s and a steady growth in the 2000s before the rate stabilized.

Numerous cases of poisoning from psychotropic substances have been reported from Surgut, the Kirov and Vladimir regions, Chuvashia and Bashkortostan. More than 20 people died and hundreds developed health problems.

“Such poisoning cases are possible anywhere, they happen in any country. That is an accident. No one is guilty except the dealer who sells such substances,” Bryun said.