Russia needs to break taboo on drug abuse: Medvedev
President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday said drug abuse was a serious problem in Russia and should be tackled head on instead of being swept under the carpet.
"The situation remains very difficult," he told mothers of current and former drug addicts in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. "This topic used to be taboo, which should definitely be broken."
Medvedev is to later Monday preside over a government meeting where the country's anti-drugs agency is set to unveil a new model to fight drug abuse, the agency's chief Viktor Ivanov told reporters.
Due to its proximity to Afghanistan and its porous borders, Russia is among the world's top three heroin consumers with Iran and Pakistan, said Ivanov.
Officials say drug abuse in Irkutsk is higher than average.
Activists of the Mothers Against Narcotics Association advocacy group said the problem remained very serious while society was indifferent.
"Genocide is under way, the nation is being destroyed," said the association's chairwoman Valentina Chervichenko.
© 2011 AFP