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Addiction Threatens All Across the Board

Out of the 5,000 junkies in the capital, 700 were homeless who were transferred to the Tehran Municipality’s social welfare centers.Out of the 5,000 junkies in the capital, 700 were homeless who were transferred to the Tehran Municipality’s social welfare centers.

Data from street addicts rounded up in Tehran during the first three months of the current fiscal (began in March), challenges the notion that substance abuse afflicts certain sections of the population, namely the unemployed or the less privileged strata.

It shows that 63% of the drug addicts had a job and 37% were jobless while unemployment has so far been deemed the primary cause behind the temptation to use the banned drugs.

“It is wrong to presume that drug addiction affects specific groups. Many from among the educated and well-off social strata are also drawn to drugs under the impression that experimenting just once will not make them addicts,” said Parviz Afshar, a deputy at Iran Drug Control Headquarters (IDCH), IRNA reported.

According to Mohammad Reza Azarnia, secretary of the coordination council at the IDCH, out of the 5,000 junkies in the capital, 700 were homeless who were transferred to the Tehran Municipality’s social welfare centers; 178 were illegal immigrants who were deported; 635 came from the provinces and are currently under treatment. Most of the addicts were between 39 and 49 years and 15% were in the 19-29 age bracket.   

As per a UN report, 250 million people use narcotics every year. The figure includes occasional and regular users as well as those who suffer from serious addiction to substances.

Afshar also pointed to the change in the type of substance use as well as the methods of consumption.

“Based on UN reports, more than 450 new kinds of drugs entered the global market by the end of last year, but thanks to the alertness of our border security forces the drugs were prevented from being smuggled into the country,” he said.

Women, who were earlier not into drug use, are now competing with men in this regard. “In Iran, the number of addicted women rose from 5% in 2001 to 9% in 2011, an alarming growth,” said the official.  

The effects of industrial narcotics are proving to be far more severe than amphetamines. Several types of such drugs are said to be between 80 and 200 times more harmful to the brain and the nervous system than regular drugs.

   Major Cause of Crime

Drug trade and abuse are among the major causes of crime in societies. Afshar said 44% of Iranian prisoners have been condemned for drug-related crimes and in general, a total of 67% are directly or indirectly involved with narcotics trafficking.   

“Drug cartels make an estimated $700 billion annually from the drug trade alone,” he said.

Pointing out that 80% of people’s personality is formed during the first eight years of life, the official stressed that to have a productive youth force, it is essential to carry out behavioral screening and early intervention in pre-schools and the first two grades of primary school.

“If students at preschool and first two primary levels with psychological or family problems are identified and provided counseling, it would be much less likely that they will become subject to social harms such as addiction or aggressive and criminal behavior once they finish high school,” he said.

 

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