Thursday, July 16, 2009

Drug Use Rises In Russia

Burgeoning narcotics trade has both domestic and global implications. According to Viktor Ivanov, head of the Federal Narcotics Control Service (FSNK), there are 2.5 million addicts and more than 5.1 million drug users in Russia, almost double the figures from 2002. Heroin and other opiates predominate; the proportion of Russians using opiates is the highest in the world for countries with populations larger than 100 million, and five to eight times greater than the E.U.'s average.

The FSNK estimates that 10,000 Russians die each year from overdoses and that another 70,000 deaths are drug-related; however, Ivanov recently suggested that the actual overdose toll may be as high as 30,000. Furthermore, nearly 65% of newly detected HIV cases are linked to drug needles. These deaths are disproportionately among young men (the average age is 28) and consequently worsen the demographic crisis.

Russian organized crime has evolved in recent years, with increasing differentiation between the so-called "authorities," who moved away from violent street crime and toward white-collar and more "business-like" operations, and the unreconstructed "bandits." The financial crisis has had a serious impact on gangs that depend on protection racketeering as well as "authorities" whose activities had started to emerge from the shadow economy. In many cases, these groups are shifting back into more traditional criminal activities, especially drug trafficking, to make up the shortfall.

See “Drug Use Rises in Russia,” Forbes, 7/13/09.



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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