Interior Minister Says Fight Against Narcotics Will Continue

Over the past four years, more than 2,500 tons of illegal drugs were seized in 8,880 operations.Over the past four years, more than 2,500 tons of illegal drugs were seized in 8,880 operations.

Over the past four years the antinarcotics police managed to dismantle 11,000 drug smuggling rings across Iran, according to Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event to mark the National Week Against Drugs on Tuesday in Tehran, Rahmani Fazli said more than 2,500 tons of the illegal drugs were seized in 8,880 operations, the website of the Iran Drug Control Headquarters reported.

“By using local capacities and help from non-government organizations, Iran has devised comprehensive plans for the treatment and rehabilitation of victims of drug abuse,” the minister said.

Around 8,100 rehab centers provide treatment to over 785,000 people every year.

“In order to prevent relapse, we are supporting 2,365 NGOs,” Fazli said, adding that vocational training has been provided to more than 155,000 recovering addicts—a 143% increase compared to what was achieved during the previous administration (2009-13).

President Hassan Rouhani took office in the summer of 2013 and was reelected with a large mandate in May for a second and last term.

With a junkie population of around 2.8 million, women make up about 10% of all addicts.

“In the past four years, 210 employment centers were established for rehabilitated female addicts to prevent replase and help facilitate reintegration,” he said.

Six residential treatment centers were established in Tehran Province to treat, rehabilitate and support female addicts and their children during the same period.

Unofficial sources put the number of addicts over and above 2.8 million. Drug addicts account for 40% of minor criminal offenses in the country, such as small-scale drug deals, pick-pocketing and petty crime.

  Narcotics Destroyed

On Tuesday, more than 160 tons of illegal drugs were destroyed in the provinces across the country. Thirty-five tons alone were burned in Zahedan, Sistan-Baluchestan Province.

“Iran has suffered major losses as a result of its enending campaign against drug trade,” the mi minister recalled.

The event on Tuesday also commemorated the memory of more 3,780 people who lost their lives in the fight against drug trafficking over the past four decades and honored the 12,000 disabled people who suffered injuries during the war on drugs.

Rahmani Fazli said 97% of the people living in the country do not use narcotics and the drug abuse rate in Iran is half the global average; “however, even this rate is high for us and we will spare no effort to reduce it.”

He pointed to Iran’s geographical proximity to Afghanistan, the world’s opium capital where more than 80% of the drugs are produced, and said, “Iran, as a transit route for drugs, faces major threats while getting the least international support and cooperation.”

Effective global support, particularly from the United Nations, in the war on drugs can help Iran devise and execute better policies both domestically and regionally, the minister was quoted as saying.

“We will be able to implement schemes such as the Alternative Livelihood Plan in Afghanistan’s poppy-producing provinces,” he added.

Officials say the battle against drug addiction and trafficking costs Iran $1 billion annually.

The World Drug Day is observed on June 26 annually. In Iran, the National Drug Week commences on June 27.

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