MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) – The number of drug addicts in Russia is estimated at 8.5 million people, or almost six percent of the total population, a government report said Tuesday.

“A total number of people using illicit narcotics and psychotropic substances in Russia is estimated at 8.5 million,” the report said.

The report accompanies the amended directive on state support of socially-oriented non-governmental organizations (NGOs), adopted by the Russian government on September 12 and posted on the government’s website on Tuesday.

The amended directive stipulates the addition of NGOs involved in rehabilitation programs for drug addicts to the list of socially-oriented NGOs eligible for state support.

Russia, which is the main conduit of drugs originating in Afghanistan, holds the first place worldwide for the number of heroin addicts per capita. Over 90 percent of drug addicts in the country use heroin.

The heroin market in Russia is valued at $6 billion by various sources while the country’s hashish market is estimated at $1.5 billion.

Some 30,000 to 40,000 Russians die every year from drug-related illnesses, according to official statistics.