Russia Makes Little Progress Against Drugs: Medvedev
April 20, 2011
President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday acknowledged that a growing epidemic of drug abuse threatens Russia's future.
Drug use is contributing to up to a 3 percent economic decline per year in Russia, home to the world's third-highest rate of heroin use and one-third of all heroin-related deaths. According to the World Health Organization, heroin use is driving the country's fast-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Health experts have been critical of the government's refusal to consider harm-reduction approaches such as methadone replacement therapy or needle exchanges. The Geneva-based International AIDS Society predicts HIV infections in Russia could grow between 5 percent and 10 percent annually unless the government takes appropriate action.
Medvedev said Russian children as young as 11 are using drugs. "In spite of the fact that heightened attention is given to this topic ... changes for better have been very, very few," he said in a meeting with high-level federal and regional officials in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. "There may be reason to think about introducing separate courses in educational programs, especially in disadvantaged areas and those where there is a tendency toward drug use."
04.18.2011; Alexei Anishchuk
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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