Shelters for Drug Addicts Keeps Trouble Away

Shelters for Drug Addicts Keeps Trouble AwayShelters for Drug Addicts Keeps Trouble Away

Shelters for homeless addicts can help reduce their presence and visibility in the streets of Tehran, said Masumeh Abad, head of the Safety and Crisis Management Committee at Tehran City Council, on the sidelines of its 154th open meeting last week.

The existing shelters provide accommodation for 4000 individuals, she said, adding that there are four main shelters in Tehran Province including Islamshahr Boarding for Men, (in Islamshahr, a city south of Tehran), Lavizan Shelter in Tehran District 4, Bahman Shelter in Bahman Square, District 16 and Khavaran Shelter in Afsariyeh Street, District 15, Mehr News Agency reported.

In addition to the four main shelters, 18 new smaller ones have been opened in Tehran this calendar year (started March 21).

Abad, pointing to the complaints of residents in the neighborhood of the shelters, said it is obvious that people do not want to live next door to homes for drug addicts. “Everybody prefers to live near gardens and parks and even if we move the shelters, we will receive complaints from residents in the new localities.”

 Minor Crimes

Closure of homeless shelters will lead to the dispersal of addicts across the city and “this means a constant battle to keep them out of trouble.” Drug addicts’ account for 40% of minor crimes like drug dealing, pick-pocketing, and petty thefts and, therefore, they can create insecurity for the community.

Earlier, after Khavaran Shelter, the biggest in the capital, was closed due to neighbors’ complaints, hundreds of addicts and homeless returned to the streets. Four homeless people lost their lives due to the sandstorm which hit Tehran on June 2, 2014; therefore the same people asked for re-opening of the center a week later, she noted.

While the Tehran Municipality’s social and cultural department reduced the number of  its inhabitants, free transport was also provided to them “to reduce their contact with the masses,” said Reza Jahangirifard, deputy head of the department.  

Abad said six buses have been allocated to the shelters to transfer addicts to specific technical & vocational centers from 6 am to 9 pm.

Establishment of police stations near the shelters was also discussed in the city council meeting to increase security for people living in the vicinity.  

Minister of Interior Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, said there are 100,000 drug addicts on the streets and 1.5 tons of drugs were confiscated daily in the previous year (ended March 20). He also said that addicts need to be sent to rehabilitation centers as per the law, and rehab efforts this year resulted in reducing the number of stolen cars by 35%.