ILMO Warns Against Alcohol Abuse

ILMO Warns Against Alcohol AbuseILMO Warns Against Alcohol Abuse

A conference titled “Alcoholism from the perspective of forensic and clinical medicine” should be seen as a wake-up call to concerns over the risks of alcohol abuse in the country. At the conference hosted recently in Tehran, by the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization (ILMO), health ministry officials presented statistics “to end the exaggerations and rumors about the consumption of alcoholic beverages” while warning about alcohol abuse in the country at the same time.

The head of the Mental Health, Addiction and Psychology Office at the health ministry, Dr. Ahmad Hajebi, said “at present 1.7% of the people use alcoholic beverages and were consuming alcohol at least once in 12 months. Also male: female ratio in alcohol use is 9:1; however this is not the first time that experts have warned about the issue, Iran newspaper reported.

To understand the seriousness of the issue, it is enough to look at the events that took place in 1998 in the country and led to mass poisoning of 700 people and deaths of 12 people in Rafsanjan county, Kerman Province.

“Sometimes we receive reports from hospitals and doctors about the common consumption of alcohol in some areas, which is a matter of great concern.” For this reason, the ministry designed a comprehensive plan for alcohol abuse prevention and treatment in 2012, which was approved in 2013 by the Supreme Council on Health and Food and the Social Council. “But the ministry’s deployment of the plan is a time consuming process,” he added.

 Important Measures

He also considered ‘the draft protocol of alcohol-related treatment’ and ‘the protocol of educational programs and sensitization of all systems’ as important measures taken by the health ministry to prevent alcohol abuse. The treatment of alcoholics needs grading as some of them “can be treated as outpatients and don’t require to be admitted,” he added.

Following the conference, Dr. Ahmad Shojaee, head of the ILMO, said “addiction is the greatest threat to national health and security.”

He also pointed to the official negligence of preventing addiction in recent years and said “unfortunately some officials are denying it and in fact consider it as a non-avoidable issue among the youth.” According to him, the consumption of alcohol has led to many other criminal offenses including murder, rape, child abuse, domestic violence and street violence.

 First Rehab Center

Following the conference, Alireza Norouzi, head of Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Office (SAPTO), at the health ministry announced the opening of the first pilot alcohol rehab center in Tehran. For patients needing alcohol treatment, outpatient and inpatient programs will be provided by the center. Kambiz Soltani Nezhad, a member of ILMO’s research center and toxicology expert emphasized the importance of raising people’s  awareness about the side effects and risks of consuming alcohol and said “methanol consumption can blind people.” Methanol and ethanol are both alcohol. But methanol is not drinkable and is a compound of counterfeit alcoholic beverages, which can cause blindness.