Inside Iran: Millions continue to battle drug addiction

A drug addict smokes cigarette at drop-in center and shelter south of Tehran, Iran. (File: AP)

At least six million Iranians are currently battling drug-related issues as the Islamic Republic continues to deal with a burgeoning drug trafficking industry.

The Financial Times reported the figure earlier this year, citing official records. An estimated 1.3 million are being treated for their addiction, according to Al Arabiya News Channel.

Rehabilitation centers can no longer absorb the growing number of those seeking help which prompted former addicts to set up their own rehab facilities.

The Iranian drug market is a versatile one. Opium continues to be popular due to the narcotic’s availability as Iran borders the drug’s biggest producer: Afghanistan.

“The geography is a huge problem here with the problems that exist in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iran is the first country that a drug would enter in order to reach the real market which is in Europe and other parts of the world, so geography is clearly working against [the issue],” Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council told Al Arabiya News.

Iran’s answer

Sheesheh, or crystal meth, is the second most popular drug in the country. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the country is the world’s fourth largest importer of pseudoephedrine, the main chemical used to make crystal meth.

Although several Iranian presidents have vowed to tackle this problem, efforts have been not as effective as some have hoped.
While Iran’s proximity to Pakistan and Afghanistan is a major factor in its drug problem, Parsi says authorities “have not been as effective as they would want to be.”

“…The very large number of people they are executing is an indication that they’re failing because if this large number of executions worked, it would have been mitigated by now.”

Separately, Al Arabiya News Channel reported that members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard have not only condoned drug trafficking but have capitalized on the smuggling.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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