IDCH says the student addiction rate is 1.2% in Tehran Province.
IDCH says the student addiction rate is 1.2% in Tehran Province.

School Program Takes On Student Drug Abuse

So far the program has covered one million people including school teachers, principals, students and parents, and 1,650 educators have been employed to create awareness on the social harm

School Program Takes On Student Drug Abuse

High school students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Currently, 14% of the drug addicts are in the ages 15-19 years, a vulnerable age for adolescents when they are more likely to be exposed to the possibility of physical or emotional harm.
The high rates of substance abuse among high school students can be attributed to a number of factors including stress, curiosity and peer pressure. Many also take stimulants like crystal meth because they believe it helps them stay awake for long hours of arduous study. 
According to Iran Drug Control Headquarters (IDCH), 1% of all students (i.e. 130,000 students) are addicted to illegal substances; however the Education Ministry has always denied the fact stating that while 1% are at risk of addiction only 3,600 are addicts. 
There are two million students at the high school level, from among the total student population of 14 million in the country. About five million students each study at the primary and the middle school levels.
Since the beginning of the current school year that started last September, a program to prevent addiction has been implemented in high schools in 12 provinces of Qom, Qazvin, Golestan, Markazi, Lorestan, Kerman, Sistan- Baluchestan, West Azarbaijan, South Khorasan, Hormozgan, Khuzestan, and Tehran, said Hamid Sarami, deputy of research and training at IDCH on Monday. 
“While in 2002 only 0.5% of students were addicts, the figure has increased to 1% now which is a warning bell,” he said.
So far the program has covered one million people including teachers, school principals, students and parents, and 1,650 educators have been employed to educate and create awareness on the social harm, IRNA reported. 
The main goals are: to prevent students’ tendency towards experimenting with drugs; to change their attitudes toward illegal substances; and to enhance self-control. The plan also aims to raise school staff and parents’ awareness of early signs and symptoms of student addiction and the strategies to prevent substance abuse.
“A study conducted by IDCH shows that 55% of parents are unaware of their children’s drug abuse till 3 to 5 years after their first experiment with illegal substances,” he said.
During the previous government’s 8-year tenure (2005-2013) the problem of drug addiction in schools was denied strongly by the authorities and no preventive program was implemented to address the issue.  

  Rehab Centers for Addicted Students
There are only three rehabilitation centers in Tehran as of now that address the problem of drug abuse among school students, said Mohsen Roshan Pazhuh, deputy for addiction prevention at the State Welfare Organization. 
Students can seek free rehab services for substance abuse in three hospitals of Ali-Asghar, Imam Hossein, and Ruzbeh. No separate rehab centers exclusively for students have been planned. IDCH says the student addiction rate is 1.2% in Tehran Province, which means from among every 100 students, at least one is a regular drug abuser. 
According to figures released earlier by the IDCH, about 60% of university students who are addicted to illicit drugs started using drugs from school age.  In the year 2011, about 1.1% of school-age students reported they had used ecstasy pills. Also 0.4% reported crystal amphetamine consumption at least once (most of them were between 16 and 17 years).
 “We have planned to establish more centers in five provinces (with higher rates of student addiction) by the end of the current year in March,” Pazuh said. Schools are not allowed to expel students addicted to drugs, but should send them to the rehab centers.
In June 2016, a joint committee with representatives of the SWO, Education Ministry, and universities of medical sciences affiliated to the Health Ministry was formed for the first time to help prevent drug abuse among school students. 
The committee proposed a plan to establish separate rehab centers for student addicts.

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