Wednesday, May 24, 2006

GEORGIA GRAPPLES WITH BREWING DRUG ADDICTION CRISIS

With the number of Georgia’s recently registered drug users exceeding those in Armenia and Azerbaijan combined, the demand for narcotic treatment programs is rapidly rising in the Caucasus nation. The latest data provided by the South Caucasus Anti-Drug program (SCAD), reveals that in 2004, 2,016 new cases of drug abuse were reported in Georgia, while 1,275 cases were noted in Azerbaijan and 538 in Armenia. The Georgian Research Institute on Addiction (GRIA) says there are 24,000 registered drug users currently in Georgia; 14,400 of whom are intravenous users (IDU). Some estimates, however, claim that up to 240,000 individuals, or roughly 5 percent of the country’s population, are addicted to narcotics. An explosion in the use of the designer drug subutex has driven the rapid rise in Georgia’s addiction rate.

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