Alcohol Takes Toll Despite Ban

Alcohol Takes Toll Despite BanAlcohol Takes Toll Despite Ban

The use of alcoholic beverages in Iran has risen in recent years resulting in health problems and death among the young consumers as well as instances of traffic accidents from drunken driving.

Mohammad Reza Qadirzadeh, head of the department for addiction studies at the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization, said every year around 100 people die of alcohol abuse besides those who lose their lives in alcohol-related road accidents.

“In the last Iranian year that ended in March, 95 people (89 men and 6 women) died in alcohol-related cases. This year in the first three months, there were 34 fatalities (31 men and 3 women).”

Based on Health Ministry data, two-thirds of alcoholic beverages in Iran are home-made and substandard. They often contain rubbing alcohol and methanol which are harmful for health.

“Apart from alcohol, various doses of methanol, diazepam, tramadol, and other chemicals were found in the analysis of viscera samples that were referred to the forensic medical authorities for investigation,” Qadirzadeh was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.  

Besides being addictive, these chemicals can have devastating effects on health such as the loss of eye sight. “Substances that replace edible alcohol (ethanol) in these home-made drinks can affect the nerves of the eye and lead to blindness.”

  Dangerous Ignorance

He blamed the prevalence of alcohol abuse on ignorance and lack of information among Iranian families. “Many people think that alcoholic drinks are only forbidden by religious rules, and are unaware of the irreparable health consequences.”

Even in countries where there is no prohibition on drinking, there are strict legal rules governing the age of alcohol drinkers as well as driving under the influence of liquor.

Prosecutor General of Tehran Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi had earlier said that in the past year 3,000 cases of drunken driving were filed, which shows the gravity of the situation. Driving in an intoxicated state carries a four-million-rial ($120) fine, the highest penalty under the traffic law as well as other punitive measures based on the Islamic Penal Code.    

In recent years police have also been resorting to breath tests in random roadside checks for drunken driving. According to official figures, there are 200,000 alcoholics in Iran.  Deputy health minister, Ali Akbar Sayyari, says the rate of alcohol consumption is as high as 420 million liters per year.