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Anti-Drugs Chief Says Russians Spend 50% More on Narcotics Than Defense Budget

Russian addicts spend 50 percent more on drugs than the nation's annual defense budget.

The amount that Russia's addicts spend on drugs each year is 50 percent more than the nation's annual defense budget, the head of the Federal Drug Control Service has said.

The drug service, or FSKN, estimated the combined amount that Russia's drug addicts spend on drugs each day was 4.5 billion rubles ($108 million), which amounts to more than 1.6 trillion ($39 billion) per year, the agency's director Viktor Ivanov told Moscow's Govorit Moskva radio on Thursday.

"This, by the way, is 50 percent more than the budget of the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation," he was quoted as saying by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

Russia's 2014 budget envisages military spending of 2.49 trillion rubles ($48.9 billion) to be increased to 3.03 trillion rubles ($70.5 billion) by 2016, RIA Novosti reported earlier.

Ivanov did not specify how his agency arrived at its estimate, but was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying law enforcement agents had seized a total of 22 tons of synthetic drugs by October this year — a volume intended to indicate the scope of Russia's drug problem.

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