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In the past two months, 180 infants in Tehran were taken away at birth from their drug-addicted mothers, who are mostly homeless women.
In the past two months, 180 infants in Tehran were taken away at birth from their drug-addicted mothers, who are mostly homeless women.

Minister Says Addiction Treatment of Mothers, Children a Priority

Preventing addiction in kids and adolescents, curbing the growth and spread of social harm, reducing the costs of addiction treatment as well as the rehabilitation of addicts are on the agenda

Minister Says Addiction Treatment of Mothers, Children a Priority

Providing addicted women and children with treatment and recovery care is among the priorities of the government of President Hassan Rouhani, said Minister of Labor, Cooperatives, and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei.
“After Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed the necessity to tackle the issue of addicted women and their children, the matter was pursued by the president and placed on the government agenda to contain the scourge,” he said at the inauguration ceremony of a rehabilitation center in Sistan-Baluchistan Province.
The southeastern province is the most underdeveloped and deprived region in the country. It has become a haven for heroin and opium-smuggling from across the border through neighboring Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its remoteness from the capital has further undermined its potentials.
However, the rate of social harm in Sistan-Baluchestan is lower than the national average and “it is doing much better” than the other 30 provinces in this regard, Rabiei maintained.
“In marriage and divorce rates it is close to the national average, but the province is grappling with other social ills such as addiction, which can only be addressed through a comprehensive development strategy. Such a strategy should include sustainable and intelligent solutions for security, and social and economic development (including access to skilled human resources and infrastructure), he added.
Preventing addiction in kids and adolescents, curbing the growth and spread of social harm, reducing the cost and duration of addiction treatment as well as the rehabilitation of addicts are on the agenda, Rabiei noted.
“The president has placed care for addicted children and women as the top two priorities to tackle social ills, since women play a more effective role than men in nurturing and raising children.”
To that end, the State Welfare Organization has also developed and extended its social emergency services as well as counseling centers, and is currently working on a scheme to address the issue of addiction among women and children.

 Help Centers
There are three types of centers operating under the auspices of the SWO for accommodating addicts.
The first provides counseling services to people who register voluntarily. These centers receive partial financial support from the Labor Ministry. At the second center homeless addicts rounded up from the streets are provided treatment services, and the third are nighttime shelters where homeless addicts can spend the night. These centers offer one hot meal, shower, and basic facilities. Each such center has the capacity to accommodate 60 addicts at a time.
More such centers are planned to be set up for women in Sistan-Baluchistan in cooperation with patrons and the governor general’s office.
“The people rounded up or who voluntarily sign up will be provided social counseling, technical and vocational training, as well as job opportunities on recovery,” Rabiei said. “Those that require specialized treatment will be referred to advanced centers.
The current figure for substance abuse in the country is nearly two million with 10% comprising women, mostly in the childbearing age.

 Preventing NAS
The government has also been looking at ways to combat addiction among newborns and children. Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) occurs in a newborn exposed to addictive illegal or prescription drugs while in the mother’s womb.
In the past two months, 180 infants in Tehran were taken away at birth from their drug-addicted mothers, who are mostly homeless women, after the head of Social Emergencies Center at the State Welfare Organization in June urged hospitals across the country not to release abused children and infants addicted to drugs from birth, into their parents’ custody even after recovery.
“Hospitals must contact the Social Emergency Center hotline ‘123’ or the Law Enforcement Forces number ‘110’ to get clearance before releasing an addicted or abused child,” Dr. Hossein Asadbeigi was quoted by IRNA as saying at the time.
The rate of addiction among neonates and infants has increased in recent years, prompting authorities to take strict action to prevent such abuse. There are 20,000 homeless people in Tehran, among whom 3,000 are women, according to the Tehran Municipality.

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