Saakashvili’s government “the main distributor of narcotics”
For Anzor, 50, a drug addict for the last 25 years, a methadone clinic in Tbilisi has become a refuge.
“I was young when I tried drugs for the first time. I lived next door to a drug dealer, and some of his customers were too scared to go and buy drugs from him – so I did it for them. That’s how I got caught up in this nightmare,” he remembers.
The National Center for Disease Control and Public Health says the number of drug users in the country has increased more than tenfold in just fifteen years, exceeding 200,000.
One look at the map shows the reason behind it: Georgia lies right on a major drug route from Afghanistan to Europe.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates around ten tons of heroin are transported into Georgia from Afghanistan every year, with around four tons remaining in the country.
Health workers are alarmed and want drastic steps now to stop drug abuse and trafficking – a responsibility that lies with the country’s upper echelons. Georgian authorities say they are combating the problem, but the ever-growing number of addicts suggests it is a battle they are not winning.
Meanwhile, many – like Green Party leader Georgy Gachechiladze – believe that Georgia’s officials are aware of what is going on, and are even condoning it.
“I wonder if it is possible for such an enormous amount of drugs to be transported into such a small country as Georgia without the knowledge of the government? Can you imagine something like this? We can’t,” Gachechiladze says.
Gachechiladze’s suspicions are echoed by opposition leader Georgy Khaindrava, who believes the country’s Interior Ministry must be involved.
“The fact that a gram of heroin costs the same in every single city in Georgia shows that all drugs are controlled by the same source. This entire situation points at the Interior Ministry, headed by Vano Merabishvili, as the main distributor of drugs,” Khaindrava says, adding that he has reasons to believe that Georgia’s leader Mikhail Saakashvili himself uses cocaine.
RT tried to reach the Interior Ministry, but was told that “the allegations were not serious enough for the ministry to comment.”