Unending Campaign Against Drug Abuse

Opium and opium sap are still the most widely used narcotics.Opium and opium sap are still the most widely used narcotics.

Week-long plans for the  International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking include “the destruction of 160 tons of drugs and instruments of abuse at symbolic ceremonies” to be held in Sistan-Baluchestan, Hormozgan, Bushehr and East Azarbaijan, said Parviz Afshar, spokesperson of Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters (IDCH).

As the global day (June 26) coincided with the Eid al-Fitr holidays in Iran this year, programs to mark the occasion are postponed by a week, he said, Mehr news Agency reported. State television and radio will also broadcast programs nationwide during the week.

A study in 2011 on the number of drug addicts in the country indicated there were 1.3 million substance abusers.

Given the changes in the pattern of drug abuse and change in gender use over the years, the IDCH updated the data through recent studies across communities that totally comprised 60,000 people between 15 and 64 years of age, both in urban and rural areas.  

The latest official results say there are 2.8 million addicts in the country.

By bringing all parallel studies on the issue together, the Health Ministry, State Welfare Organization and the IDCH say 2.8 million Iranians are regular users of narcotics.

  Opium Most Used

Opium and opium sap are still the most widely used narcotics. Heroin and its compounds and crystal meth rank second and third respectively.  Among all types of drug, the use of crystal meth has gone down by 8.1%.

The death rate due to drug abuse has increased by 6.2%. In 2016, around 3,190 people lost their lives to narcotics, the majority of whom were men (2,847).

Mortality rates caused by the use of psychedelic drugs have also gone up by 8.6%, which is a cause for alarm, the official said.

The IDCH has improved preventive measures, especially in schools, universities, barracks and even primary schools.

“Such programs have increased by 30% in a bid to encourage entire communities in the battle against drugs,” said Afshar, adding that monitoring information in cyberspace is also to be developed as part of the anti-drug campaigns.

So far, 3,600 high-risk students that have high potential to succumb to the temptation of narcotics have been identified across the country and given counseling as a preventive measure.

The allocation of 790 billion rials ($21 million) for insurance coverage of drug addicts has been proposed to the Labor Ministry. Afshar expressed hope that the proposal will be approved.  

Based on reports, the 09628 hotline, which provides counseling for drug abusers, has responded to 400,000 calls over the past year, meaning that 98.5% of the callers were attended to.

The hotline has been designed to provide information about addiction, medicines and usage instructions as well as the address of the nearest rehabilitation center licensed by the Health Ministry and the SWO.

The service is active from 8 am to 9 pm every day at present but is expected to operate 24 hours soon.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints