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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rising Drug Addiction Poses Security Problem

Drug use is spreading so rapidly in Russia that the Kremlin regards it as a threat to national security, Sergei Ivanov, the head of the Russian Security Council, said Wednesday.

The rate of drug-related crimes has risen 14-fold over the past decade, with more than 200,000 such crimes registered in the past year, Ivanov said at a national drugs conference held at Danilov Monastery, the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Some 4 million of Russia's 145 million Russians use drugs and about half of them are considered addicts, Public Health Minister Yuri Shevchenko said at the conference.

?The president of Russia and the Security Council he chairs consider the problem of the spreading and using of drugs in the category of a direct threat to the national security of the state because of its long-term consequences,? Ivanov said.

Interfax quoted Ivanov as saying that the Security Council had recently worked out a series of measures to combat the spread of drugs, but did not elaborate.

Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has developed a broader concept of national security and has indicated increasing willingness to address perceived security threats from abroad.

Much of the narcotics used in Russia are believed to come from the former Soviet Central Asian republics, especially Tajikistan.

?No train or plane arrives in Moscow from Tajikistan without drugs aboard,? Ivanov declared, according to Interfax.

Russia accuses insurgents in Central Asia, believed to be trained in Afghanistan, of taking part in drug trafficking and Moscow has repeatedly expressed strong concern that the insurgents could destabilize the region.

At a drugs conference in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday, Russian Interior Ministry official Alexander Sergeyev said heroin use was spiraling in Russia because prices had fallen as low as $10 a gram.