Methamphetamine production and the use of “hard drugs” are “skyrocketing” in Iran despite police raids and the potential of facing execution for certain drug crimes.
It is estimated that “2.2 million of Iran’s 80 million citizens already are addicted to illegal drugs, including 1.3 million on registered treatment programs.”
According to the Associated Press, drug use “numbers keep rising annually even though use of the death penalty against convicted smugglers has increased too.” Executions resulting from drug conviction now represent “more than nine out of 10 executions” in Iran.
Narcotics officer Parviz Afshar said two meth labs appear for every one they shut down. And Majid Mirzaei, who manages a drug addict shelter in Tehran, argues that drug addition cannot be eliminated, but says it can be managed.
Mirzaei said: “When I set up this shelter authorities didn’t support me. But after several years of hard work, they were convinced that it’s better to provide care and shelter to addicts.”
One of the reasons for the continued rise in drug use is their easy availability, via Afghanistan, which is “the region’s top drug exporter.”
In March 2014, Russia warned of the drug boom that would take place in Afghanistan once President Barack Obama followed through with pulling US troops out of that country. According to Iran’s state-run PressTV, Russian drug tsar Viktor Ivanov claimed that even the “US House Foreign Affairs Committee [had] no counter-narcotics strategy for Afghanistan after international troops pulled out of the country.”
By November, The Christian Science Monitor reported that “poppy cultivation” had reached a record high in 2014. And although they did not mention Obama’s determination to pull out troops, they reported that “the uptick in production could be tied to increasing insecurity in Afghanistan.”
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