Illegal drugs in the regions

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April 22, 2016 18:40

Pay rises and the relative availability and popularity of smoking blends in 2000s have resulted in greater drug use in Belarus. An anonymous survey held in high schools in the Minsk region said that 30% of teens have tried various drugs. Meanwhile, Belarus has the lowest drug use and smallest number of drug drug dependent persons in the region.

Drug trafficking in Belarus is classified as a serious crime. Selling and possessing illegal drugs in Belarus envisages extremely severe punishment, regardless of the drug type. For example, possession of illegal drugs (Article 328 Part 1 of Belarus’ Criminal Code) envisages up to 5 years in prison and sales and distribution (Article 328 Parts 2 and 3) - up to 13. If committed by an organized criminal group (Article 328 Part 4), the punishment might be up to 15 years of imprisonment with or without property confiscation.

Belarusian drug users form a closed community. Due to harsh punishment for purchasing soft drugs, growing plant drugs for personal consumption is becoming increasingly popular. Excess is distributed among friends or via personal recommendations.The most popular drugs are smoking mixtures, aka ‘Spice’, or synthetic cannabinoids. One gram of ‘Spice’ costs circa BYR 150 (USD 20). For comparison, 1 gram of marijuana in neighboring Lithuania and Poland costs about SUD 10.

Drug use has been registered throughout the country. However drug use is greater in the regions with major industrial enterprises.

The share of regular drug users is small. Even if official figures on drug addicts are multiplied by 10, it will be less than 2% of the population in the regions. The vast majority of these 2% are pupils and students, i.e. under 25 years old.

Drugs are trafficked to Belarus from Russia and Ukraine. According to unofficial data, in some regions, the Interior Ministry provides protection to drug traffickers.