MOSCOW, February 19 - RAPSI. Chief of Russia's Federal Service for Drug Control Viktor Ivanov has urged judges of general jurisdiction to consider restricting the rights of drug users who refuse to undergo medical rehabilitation.

At a conference of judges in Moscow, Ivanov proposed that the rights of drug users to own weapons, or to drive, for example, should be restricted if they refuse to undergo rehabilitation treatment.

He added that these restrictions would be lifted after the drug users complete a course of medical treatment and rehabilitation.

Ivanov said that over half a million people in Russia had been sentenced for drug-related crimes, but only 20,000 of them agreed to join a substance abuse rehabilitation program.

He cited the example of the European Union, where "nearly 1.5 million drug users are re-socialized every year."

Ivanov said in conclusion that every year hundreds of thousands of drug trafficking cases are opened and investigated in Russia, and each year the courts hand down over 100,000 guilty verdicts, yet the number of drug addicts remains high.