In a country long-known for alcoholism and substance abuse, Russians seem to be escalating the problem by moving to harder drugs. A recent report shows that Russia is now the world’s largest consumer of heroin.
The computer hardware shop owner is one of millions of Russians horrified by a drug abuse epidemic that has turned Russia into the world's largest consumer of heroin.
Drugs and Corruption Pervade
A recent poll (July 2012) shows that nearly nine in 10 Russians (87 percent) identify drug abuse as at least a "very serious" problem in Russia today, including 55 percent describing the problem as "extremely serious." The only other issue that worries as many Russians (85 percent) is the corruption that pervades Russian society, business and politics. This as reported in sfgate.com.
Russians living across the vast country, of all levels of education and income, differ little when it comes to the extent of the drug abuse problem, although 91 percent of urban dwellers see it as a serious problem, compared to 82 percent of rural residents.
Heroin is a Major Problem
It has been estimated that as many as 2.5 million Russians are addicted to drugs, and 90 percent of them use the heroin that has flooded into Russia from Afghanistan since the late 1990s. The nation with a population of 143 million consumes 70 tons of Afghan heroin every year — or more than a fifth of the drug consumed globally.
In Russia, heroin kills 80 Russians each day — or 30,000 a year — and is "as easy to buy as a Snickers" chocolate bar. Meanwhile, new drugs — such as highly addictive synthetic marijuana and a cheap and lethal concoction made of codeine pills known as "crocodile" — compete with heroin and kill thousands more. Compare these stats to the fact that about $1,400 Germany dies do to drug overdoses in the same period.
As Russia continues to grow into a civilized nation let’s hope that it will implement policy to combat the drug problems. Hopefully more education through drug classes and counseling will become available. Tighter law enforcement and more severe penalties for heroin use and sales should follow.