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Russian drug deaths total 30,000 a year: officials

More than 30,000 people die from drug abuse each year in Russia eight times more the number of drug related fatalities in the European Union.

world Updated: Dec 04, 2008 11:18 IST

More than 30,000 people die from drug abuse each year in Russia eight times more the number of drug related fatalities in the European Union, the Russian anti drugs unit said.

The Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation (FSKN) estimated that since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, drug use has soared in Russia and drug related drugs are now about eight times greater than in the European Union.

"Russia loses 30,000 people each year to drug abuse, the majority of them young people," FSKN director Viktor Ivanov said on Wednesday, quoted by Interfax.

Ivanov said there were 78,000 drug addicts in 2007 in Russia, up from 70,000 regular users in 2006.

He added that 90 per cent of Russian addicts took Afghan imported heroin.

Moscow has been critical recently of Kabul and its international allies for failing to clamp down on opium production and the flow of illegal drugs into Russia from Afghanistan.