Gov't Steadfast in Anti-Drug Campaign

Gov't Steadfast in Anti-Drug CampaignGov't Steadfast in Anti-Drug Campaign

Iran has an "acceptable record" in the campaign against illicit drugs and money laundering, the interior minister said in an interview with state television on Saturday.

"However, efforts in this regard are not enough as the drug mafia has (mainly) targeted the Iranian society," Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said, putting the country's addiction rate at 1.5 percent, IRNA reported.  

Comparing the damaging impact of addiction to that of catastrophic disasters, such as flood or earthquake, he pointed to its detrimental effects on the society's "cultural, economic and social health" and the heavy financial burden it imposes on families.

Pointing to the direct link between addiction and crime, he said serious measures should be taken to address the problem.

Noting that the country has the highest rate of clashes between police forces and drug smugglers in the world and that 570 tons of narcotics have been seized in the current Iranian calendar year, starting March 21, 2014, the minister said the eastern neighbors do not have effective control over their borders with Iran, through which most of the world's drug demand is supplied.

Iran has managed to secure most of its eastern borders through identifying five sensitive border hot spots, Rahmani said, announcing plans to install night-vision cameras to carry out round-the-clock surveillance along borders.  

He said the successful implementation of preventive measures needs the cooperation of people and the media, adding, "Firm steps can be taken to fight the drug problem through raising the awareness of the youth."

The total capacity of drug rehabilitation centers in the capital Tehran was 500 people in Iranian calendar year 1392, ending March 20, 2014, which has been increased significantly and is expected to reach 5000 in the coming weeks, followed by a twofold rise over the next two months, he said, adding that10000 to 11000 addicts are responsible for 44 percent of thefts in the country.    

On average, 20 percent of drug addicts receive rehabilitation services worldwide, with the figure standing at 10 to 12 percent in Iran, the official said, noting that the budget allocated to this purpose this year was $14.7 million from $8.8 million a year earlier.   

Efforts are underway to modify rules to facilitate a "serious and deterrent fight" against drug abuse, he added.