An Economic High: Russias Solution To Drug Use

1669 words - 7 pages

Russia has arguably the worst drug problem in the world. It struggles with a growing number of drug addicted individuals and a large drug trafficking problem. Due to its lack of border controls, Russia has become an integral part of the international drug trade. With the withdrawal of international militaries from Afghanistan, heroin importing and the number of heroin addicts only stand to grow. Facing these problems, Russia desperately needs a solution to its drug problem in order to avoid the cataclysmic effects of international drug trade that would undoubtedly harm millions of lives throughout the world.
The size of Russia’s drug trade, both domestic and international has not always been ...view middle of the document...

A UN study found that “Particularly rapid has been the spread of heroin, as the rapid multiplication of heroin seizures in different parts of the country shows. In 1996, the MVD seized heroin in 14 Russian regions; in 1997, this happened in 43 regions; in 1998, it were 67, and in 1999, heroin seizures were conducted in more than 70 different regions of the Russian Federation." (MPICC, 9).Russian Heroin largely comes from Afghanistan, it is the largest supplier of opium derived substances to russia. It is largely smuggled into Russia through the former Soviet Central Asian republics and mostly Tajikistan. Tajikistan, a country weakened by civil war and economic recession, that have left many citizens who have no choice but to deal illegal drugs in order to survive. "According to reliable estimates, 35 percent of Tajikistan's gross domestic product comes from drug trafficking." (MPICC, 9). These large jumps in drug imports have largely been due to modern Russia’s openness to the world compared to the isolationist mentality of the Soviet Union. This new attitude has led to Russia opening up its borders and allowing the drugs to be sold to all members of Russian society.
Police corruption has also had a large effect on Russian drug abuse; even when a drug addicted Russian wants to seek help it is very hard for them to do so. Many people who could turn to the police do not do so because they fear blackmail and forced imprisonment. (Shelley 5). Police corruption also fosters the drug trade because the police are willing to accept bribes from drug dealers in order to look the other way. (shelley 6). Russia’s police corruption allows for massive amounts of drugs to be sold on the streets and trafficked in from surrounding countries making Russia one of the worlds largest drug trafficking routes.
Most of Russia’s heroin supply comes from neighboring countries such as Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. Heroin easily transported as Russian borders have weak security. In a paper published by George Mason University, Aaron Beitman states that “According to experts, only 10-15% of all estimated drug crimes are detected by authorities. It is therefore unsurprising that law enforcement confiscates roughly 7-10 kg out of every 100 kg of drugs passing through Russia.” (Beitman, paragraph 5). The reason that so many drugs pass through unchecked is that Russian border authorities do not have the capabilities to find such drugs, because they lack the equipment and funding that would allow them to do so.
Afghan heroin does not only affect Russian people through drug addiction. It also has an indirect effect. A UN study said that “According to the UNODC's World Drug Report 2007, the total potential value of Afghanistan's 2006 opium harvest accruing to farmers, laboratory owners and Afghan traffickers reached about $US3.1 billion. In addition, it is reported that in 2004, some 400 tons of cocaine was exported from one Latin American country, with an estimated domestic...

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