Statistical Update on Drug Abuse

Statistical Update on Drug Abuse Statistical Update on Drug Abuse

Every five years an extensive statistical update on drug abuse and drug addiction among students is carried out and the next one will be conducted in autumn, said Parviz Afshar, deputy of Drug Reduction and Public Awareness Office at the Drug Control Headquarters.

In 2001-2002, studies revealed that 0.5% of the students had tried drugs once. In less than a decade, the figure had almost doubled, reaching 0.9% in 2010-2011. That was a warning call and therefore, it was decided to undertake studies every five years to assess the situation, reports Iranian Labor News Agency.

 Addiction in most cases begins during the teenage years. Effective interventions are necessary through public awareness programs supported by the mass media to prevent addiction in young adults. However, the ongoing preventive measures cover only 8-10% of the students while it is projected to increase five-fold to boost their safety and health. Promoting the health and safety of adolescents is of critical importance, he said.

Adolescence is a vulnerable period in the life cycle. No longer children and yet not adults, adolescents are gullible and may make wrong choices and develop attitudes and practices that affect their safety and well-being as well as influence their risk to chronic disease.

Adolescence represents an opportunity to encourage healthy choices and social behavior that continues into adulthood. “By investing in adolescent health today, we invest in the social and community leaders of tomorrow.”

Improving youth health, safety, and well-being is a tough endeavor that requires collaborative efforts of a wide array of social and educational institutions, parents and families, adolescents themselves, schools and post-secondary institutions, healthcare providers, community organizations and youth NGOs, religious organizations, media and government. Together, these entities can help provide a nurturing structure and environment, as well as opportunities for growth that supports and sustains healthy development of youth.

About 40% of the DCHQ budget or $2.2 million, equivalent to $0.15 per student, is allocated for preventive measures in drug abuse or addiction, which is not enough to cover the targeted population adequately.  At the global level, $20 is allocated to each student to implement measures with the same objectives.

In this context, meetings were held among representatives of the Majlis (Parliament) Health Commission, Education Ministry and the DCHQ to address the lacunae in the fight against drug abuse among youth and expand preventive measures.

Afshar hoped the Parliament would allocate funds for comprehensive measures to combat drug abuse among the student population as soon as possible. He also appealed for public cooperation.