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Russia Considers Sending Drug Dealers to Forced Labor Camps

Russian politicians say they’re losing their domestic battle against drugs, so they’re ready to get tougher – with suggested measures such as mandatory drug testing in schools and forced labor camps for those convicted of dealing drugs.

According to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s battle against drug addiction is a  catastrophic failure that’s going to cost the nation 3% points of economic growth this year. He’s ready to get tough on drugs, and called in April for measures like mandatory drug testing in schools and the criminalization of the possession of small quantities of drugs.

Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the lower house of parliament, agrees. He called this week for a ‘total war on drugs’ and said that drug dealers should be treated in the same way as serial killers, and sent to serve prison sentences in harsh forced labor camps, arguing, ''The barons of narco-business must be put on a par with serial killers with the appropriate punishment in the form of a life sentence…Felling timber, laying rails and constructing mines - that's very different from sitting in a personal cell with a television and a fridge while you keep up your 'business' on the outside."

According to Gryzlov, Russia has 6 million drug addicts, a number stoked by heroin that flows from Afghanistan through the country, and drugs have killed 100 000 Russians within the last year. Methadone treatment is banned within the country and injection drug use is common. One in 100 Russians is now HIV positive.

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