According to the data of Statistical Committee of the Republic of Armenia, in 2018, number of people with mental and behavioral disorders caused by using drugs has made 6951. These are the numbers refer only to persons under dispensary control. 61% or 4231 people out of them belong to the age group of 28-49.
116 out of the total number are women.
According to Our World in Data scientific online publication, in 2017 the number of people with drug addiction has reached 71 mln all over the world, and the number of deaths from drug use disorders has reached 166.000.
And though Armenia is in the best position in the region, both worldwide and in our country, the numbers are growing year by year.
The Republican Narcological Center of RA Ministry of Health provides medical assistance to people suffering from drug addiction, alcoholism and toxic addiction (ed: abuse of toxic substances and drugs).
Narcological medical care for RA citizens is provided within the framework of the state order, i.e. free of charge. The hospital has 60 beds. But director of the center, Petros Semerjyan, in the interview with Ampop Media noted that only a small number of the 40-50 patients at the center are drug users, most of them are people suffering from alcoholism.
“People using drugs without a doctor’s appointment suffer from drug addiction. Depending on the kinds of drugs, their doses and the time period of usage, addiction arises,” says Semerjyan.
Drug usage affects all organ systems. People who have been using drugs for many years have other acquired diseases.
According to Semerjyan, citizens registered in their center have appeared in their scope by different ways. There are people who apply for treatment and others who are being expertised by law enforcement for drug use. Most of them are men from Yerevan.
Clinic treatment is carried out only on a voluntary basis, upon request of the patient. Anyhow, it may sometimes be compulsory according to the court decision. Semerjyan says such cases do not exceed 10 per year.
In response to the question, whether there are returnees after treament, Semerjyan says 20-25% within a year.
Import and Export of Drugs in Armenia
Drugs in usage do not “fall from the sky.” Where and how they are being imported and exported?
According to the data of SRC investigative and operational-search department provided to Ampop Media, over the last 5 years, cases of import and export make 248 altogether, by the way cases of import greatly exceed.
The most common methods of drug trafficking in RA are the ones carried out by postal and courier items, as well as trafficking carried out by being hidden on physical entities or in their luggage.
The list of imported and exported drugs is topped by the following three ones: Heroin, Opium and Methamphetamine.
66 cases of drug trafficking have been detected in the first half of 2015-2019.
Illegal drugs have been imported from 15 countries to Armenia and been exported to 6 countries. The “key roles” belong to the citizens of RA and Islamic Republic of Iran. However, the geographic boundaries are not limited to only these 2 countries.
Methadone, created in Germany in 1937, is mainly used for treatment of opium dependence. Methadone is a synthetic opium drug. The drug clinic has been providing methadone replacement therapy since October 2009.
“When there is a new method of treatment in the world, we try to introduce and apply it in Armenia, the same is true with methadone replacement therapy,” says Semerjyan.
According to the director of the center, the most popular drugs in Armenia are the ones made from hemp. “People suffering from opium addiction and having inefficient treatment, replace their illegal drugs by legal ones due to methadone treatment”.
Semerjyan notes that methadone replacement therapy has a few primary goals: health improvement, particularly eliminating the risk of acquired blood diseases (HIV, Hepatitis C) and preventing criminal behavior.
At current 300 residents of Yerevan get methadone therapy, i.e, they no longer go on searching illegal drugs.
“Treatment of each person is unique, there is no exact time period for treatment. Of course, all cases are severe, but in comparison, treatment for severe cases takes longer, than that of lighter cases. As regards to families, there are such ones, who support and try to overcome it with unity, but there are the opposite cases as well,” says Semerjyan.
According to the data of RA General Department on Combating Organized Crime, in the course of 12 months of 2018, as a result of operative investigations against illegal circulation of drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors 427 out of 877 crime cases were detected.
135 kg and 383 grams of different drugs, 81 grams of psychotropic substance and 0.448 kg of precursor were seized and presented to expert examination. “Hemp-Poppy” complex operative-preventive measure is carried out by the police which aims at detecting and destroying cannabis and poppy plants grown wildly or illegally.
Article and photos by Sofy Tovmasyan
Data developing and design by Gayane Melikyan
Responsible editor Suren Deheryan
This article is part of a series entitled “Economy and Society in the Regions of RA”
Translated by Mary Grigoryan
For Armenian original CLICK HERE
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