MOSCOW, December 24 (RAPSI) – The Federal Drug Control Service has proposed introducing criminal liability for creating, administering and promoting websites that sell or advertise drugs, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday, citing Viktor Ivanov, head of the service.

Equipment and assets of businesses implicated in promotion of drugs on the internet should be seized, according to Ivanov.

Public attention to the drug problem intensified in Russia following numerous cases of synthetic cannabis (a.k.a. spice) poisoning that started in mid-September. Over 2,000 people have been poisoned and more than 40 of them have died.

Drug abuse remains a major problem in Russia. The Federal Drug Control Service says there has been a 30 percent decline in drug-related deaths among young people in Russia in the past 14 years. The number of deaths decreased from over 130,000 in 2000 to 82,000 in 2013.

According to official drug enforcement statistics, about 8 million Russians used drugs and almost 150,000 people were jailed for drug-related crimes in 2013. The UN says that Russia, a nation of 142 million people, accounts for about 20 percent of the world's heroin consumption.