IDCH Faces Mammoth Task Fighting Drugs

IDCH Faces Mammoth Task Fighting DrugsIDCH Faces Mammoth Task Fighting Drugs

Drug seizures by the Law Enforcement Forces increased by 11% last year (ended in March), as compared with the previous year, said Parviz Afshar, deputy head of the Iranian Drug Control Headquarters.

“Last year, about 580 tons of drugs were discovered and seized by the police, signaling a 11% jump in overall seizures vis-à-vis the corresponding period in the preceding year,” he said at a press conference in Shiraz, capital of Fars Province, IRNA reported.

The IDCH has been facing increasing challenges in the seemingly unending war against narcotics. Tehran has often complained that the necessary international aid and cooperation against the dangerous scourge is not forthcoming. It has appealed to the big powers and the UN to rethink their anti-drug policy and extend meaningful assistance against the drug mafia operating in and from the joint borders with the world’s opium capital (Afghanistan) and Pakistan.

Pointing to the drug hauls in the first two months of the current year, Afshar said the seizures had jumped by 14-15% compared to last year.

According to official figures, there are 1.4 million addicts in the country, of which 30-40% are under the coverage of rehabilitation centers for treatment.

Severing the link between abusers and smugglers is a high priority in the fight against the drug scourge, Afshar said. “The next five-year economic, social and cultural development plan (2016-21) targets a 25% reduction in substance abuse, and we are poised to realize it.”

Around 3,000 non-governmental organizations working in the area of drug addiction are registered in the country, and among them 2,300 are assessed “as active and competent.”

 Boosting NGO Interaction

Each organization is categorized at three levels according to their infrastructure, number of members, and type and number of activities.

“We provide a chance for the NGOs to upgrade after attending specific educational workshops held by the IDCH,” Afshar said. “We want the top NGOs to be able to interact at regional and international levels.”

The policy of fighting the drug problem is comprehensive and hinges on five major pillars including curbing supply, primary prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and public participation.

Iran shares a 900-km porous border with Afghanistan and is used as the main conduit for smuggling drugs from the neighboring war-torn country to the drug kingpins in Europe. Despite this, Iran is at the frontline of the fight against the scourge.

The Islamic Republic has spent more than $700 million to seal the borders and prevent the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries. The war on the drug trade originating from Afghanistan has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers over the past three decades.

“About 20%-30% of the drugs that enter the country are found and seized by the police annually,” Afshar said.

The rate of success for drug addiction treatment in the world stands at 35-40%, but is 15-20% in Iran. The success rate depends on the rate of relapse post-recovery.