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Russia remains a major destination for Afghan opiates that enter the country via Central Asian states, consuming approximately 70-75 metric tons (MT) of heroin annually, according to a UN estimate from 2011. Other illegal narcotics, such as cocaine, are typically smuggled in via St. Petersburg and Black Sea ports by drug couriers originating largely in the Caribbean and South America. In the first half of 2015 (the most recent year for which data is available), Russian law enforcement seized approximately 14 MT of illegal drugs, of which 1.34 MT were opiates. Three federal agencies conduct drug-related investigations in Russia: Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD); Federal Security Service (FSB); and Federal Customs Service (FTS).

In April 2016, the government disbanded the Federal Narcotics Control Service (FSKN) and assigned its functions to other agencies. By January 2017, the MVD plans to fulfill most FSKN responsibilities and absorb 70 percent of its workforce. It is expected that the Ministries of Health and Labor will assume responsibility for drug user rehabilitation. At the conclusion of 2016, it was not yet known which agency will take responsibility for domestic demand reduction. FSKN remained the source of most statistical information in 2016 but released very little new data.

According to multiple sources, drug users in Russia number between 7.3 and 8.5 million. In 2014, drug-related mortalities among those aged 15 to 34 totaled 92,000, a 30 percent decrease from 130,000 deaths in 2000. Nevertheless, the FSKN reported a 35 percent increase in drug use by minors in Moscow the same year, while the Ministry of Health claimed a 6.5 percent increase by youth nationwide. Analysts ascribed spotty progress and metrics to poor interagency and inter-sectoral cooperation, and to the lack of a cohesive national rehabilitation program.

In 2013, Russia terminated its letter of agreement with the United States that funded counternarcotic capacity-building programs. In June 2016, FSKN director Viktor Ivanov was dismissed from all of his posts (Ivanov has been included on the list of Russian officials sanctioned by the United States as a result of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea since 2014.) The MVD Main Directorate for Drug Control is headed by General Andrei Khrapov. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has a working relationship with the FSB, and to a lesser degree with the MVD and FTS. The United States and Russia formally cooperate on law enforcement matters under a mutual legal assistance treaty.

In February 2015, the government authorized FSKN to unilaterally impose temporary bans on new psychoactive substances, which it claimed appeared at a rate of one new chemically unique drug every two days. This authority was legally transferred to the MVD upon FSKN's dissolution. The initiative was prompted by a series of synthetic drug poisonings and deaths in 2014. Adding new substances to Russia's prohibited substance list otherwise takes approximately 12 months.

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Title Annotation:Country Reports
Publication:International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2017
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