In Russia, nearly half million drug abusers are officially registered with the state but registration can lead to discrimination. Registered abusers can’t obtain some kinds of jobs and are denied driver’s licenses. Nearly 90 percent of the registered abusers are addicted to opiates such as heroin and opium. When people are removed from this list, it’s not usually because they recover, it’s because they die - the life expectancy of an addict in Russia is between four and four and a half years. Even when an abuser is registered, fewer than 10 percent ever make it into a state-run drug treatment facility.
Tragically, addiction is hitting young people the hardest. The majority of drug addicts are between 16 and 30 years of age. In the last decade, the age of “first use” dropped from 17 to 14 years.
Figures on how many Russians are using drugs or are addicted to either drugs or alcohol vary greatly. No two reports provide the same figures. One report estimated that 70,000 Russians die from drug overdoses. Additionally, another report stated that 50,000 more people die each year from alcohol abuse. What makes this heartbreaking scene worse is the scarcity of effective drug rehabilitation in the country.
In 2002, Ilya and Janet Bantseev started Source of Life, which is Teen Challenge in Siberia. They now have over 200 students and over 50 workers. Many of those who come to stay at Source of Life cannot afford to pay for their room and board in the program because of the previously mentioned registered drug uses lists. By supporting Source of Life, people can receive modern and effective rehabilitation treatment that can revive their lives!