Moscow: Almost nine million Russians regularly take illicit drugs, according to the country's Federal Drug Control Service head Viktor Ivanov .

"About 8.8 million Russians are drug addicts and over 18 million have tried narcotics at least once," Ivanov told a news conference in Moscow.

Russia, which is the main conduit of drugs originating in Afghanistan, holds the first place worldwide for the number of heroin addicts per capita.

Over 90 percent of drug addicts in the country use heroin.

The heroin market in Russia is valued at USD 6 billion while the country's hashish market is estimated at USD1.5 billion.

Ivanov said his agency and the interior ministry were ready to implement a comprehensive database on drug users who have been involved in drug-related criminal activities.

It would be part of a state sponsored rehabilitation programme for drug addicts, which is expected to be drafted in March next year.

(Agencies)

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