Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 32

Unofficial estimates put the number of drug users in Chechnya at about 20,000, according to the August 28 Caucasus News Update of the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (see the organization’s website at www.iwpr.net). That is a huge number for a country that probably now has only about half a million residents within its borders.

The republic’s leading physician specializing in detoxification recently said that “In Grozny these days, it’s just as common to see a junkie as to see an armed man.” An official in the health ministry confirmed that the cheap, low-quality heroin readily available in Chechnya is “a much worse substance than pure heroin….The death rate is high among drug addicts in Chechnya, 150 died last year alone.”