Official statistics say there are some 30,000 registered drug addicts in Moscow, while experts suggest there may be as many as 1.5 million, the director of a Moscow drug research center said Monday.

"In 2006 22,300 Muscovites were receiving regular medical check ups, and another 7,000 were undergoing preventive treatment," Yevgeny Bryun said.

The official said the number of registered drug addicts in the city, which has a population of 11 million, had increased tenfold since 1991.

"The situation is getting worse, and I don't know what the results for 2007 will be," Bryun said.

He said the negative trend resulted from a number of laws adopted in Russia and Moscow, in particular. The State Duma (lower house) cancelled compulsory treatment for drug addicts in December 2003, and the Moscow legislature increased the amount of drugs people were allowed to legally possess from 0.1g to 1g in May 2004, Bryun said.

"In 2004 150 people died of overdosed, and in 2006 the figure was 656," he said.

Bryun also supported the initiative raised last year by the Education and Science Ministry to conduct drug tests among university entrants.