BAKU: Azerbaijan has over 300,000 drug addicts – TV

Azerbaijan has over 300,000 drug addicts – TV

ANS TV, Baku
26 Jun 05

[Presenter] Some children turn into drug addicts after being
abandoned. Now, there are over 300,000 drug addicts in Azerbaijan.
But this has nothing to do with children. Drug trade has long been
a serious business in the country. And sometimes the law-enforcement
bodies themselves turn out to be the patrons of this trade.

[Correspondent] There are hundreds of thousands of drug addicts
in Azerbaijan. Although official figures put the number at 18,000,
unofficial figures say there are more of them.

[Mazahir Afandiyev, captioned as coordinator of the South Caucasus
anti-drug Programme] Of course, this figure is ridiculous. There are
over 300,000 drug addicts in Azerbaijan.

[Correspondent] What is appalling is that 75 per cent of Azerbaijan’s
drug addicts take heroin, which is a hard drug.

[Afandiyev] Mathematical calculations show Azerbaijan’s demand for
drugs is nearly 1 tonne [as received].

[Correspondent] Who smuggles drugs into Azerbaijan? Let us look into
this first. Afghanistan accounts for 90 per cent of the heroin and
opium produced in the world, the UN says. The CIS [Commonwealth of
Independent States] countries, particularly Russia, are the main
consumers of the Afghan drugs. The CIS countries use drugs in almost
primitive ways.

However, western countries have gone a bit further, producing
ecstasy pills in special labs. Azerbaijan is geographically suitable
for the transit of drugs. So the drugs produced in Afghanistan
are smuggled into Russia and the west via the South Caucasus,
in particular Azerbaijan. There are four routes for this. The
first route is Afghanistan-Iran-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Europe. The
second route is Afghanistan-Iran-Nagornyy Karabakh (which is an
uncontrolled zone)-Armenia-Georgia-Europe. The third route used for
the transportation of drugs is Afghanistan-Iran-Azerbaijan-Russia. And
finally, the fourth route is Afghanistan-the Central Asia-the Caspian
Sea-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Europe.

[Passage omitted: more details on drug trafficking routes]

The most widely used drugs in Azerbaijan are opiates, heroin,
medicines, hemp, ecstasy, hashish, cocaine and LSD.

Heroine is mostly used in Lankaran District (64.6 per cent).
Azerbaijan’s smallest consumer of heroin is Quba District (47.6 per
cent). Baku’s drug addicts mostly use ecstasy and heroine. Most of the
drug addicts have been injecting drugs into their veins for five years.

[Passage omitted: minor details]

Drugs can be bought on the black markets of Baku, Sumqayit, Ganca,
Lankaran, Calilabad and Astara.

[Israfil Aliyev, captioned as head of a working group of the state
anti-drug commission] In the past, there was a certain Madina [a
female name] in Sovetskiy [a quarter in Baku] or Zeynab in Yuxari
Dagli [quarter in Baku] who used to sell drugs. Things have changed
now. Among the drug traders you may find some people who you would
never think fit the description.

[Correspondent] The most appalling fact is that the number of drug
addicts grows in Azerbaijan, while their age goes down.

[Passage omitted: minor details, cites statistics as saying that the
youngest drug addict is 14-year-old; 10 per cent of schoolchildren
use drugs]

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