Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 07 - Iran’s vice-President in the Headquarters to Combat Narcotics announced drug abuse is affecting 11 million Iranians across the country. Dr. Ali Hashemi said that this staggeringly high figure represented people from all walks of life, including families whose lives had been totally destroyed due to drug abuse by family members. Iran Focus

Tehran, Jan. 07 - Iran’s vice-President in the Headquarters to Combat Narcotics announced drug abuse is affecting 11 million Iranians across the country.

Dr. Ali Hashemi said that this staggeringly high figure represented people from all walks of life, including families whose lives had been totally destroyed due to drug abuse by family members.

Referring to the ratio of male prisoners with a history of drug abuse, Hashemi said, “Sixty-five percent of these individuals have between one to five children”.

“Sixty percent of prisons in the country house drug addicts”, he added. Hashemi admitted that younger individuals with less chances of finding permanent jobs and subject to greater hardships could not shed drug abuse regardless of the sentences they received.

In recent days, senior Iranian officials have acknowledged the scale of the drug epidemic, describing it as a grassroots disaster. One senior official stated last week that on average it took less time for someone to buy narcotics on the street than it did for emergency services to arrive on the scene of an overdose.

A member of the Iranian Majlis’ (parliament) Health Committee recently told state-run news agencies that everyday more and more young women and girls were being dragged into drug abuse.

He criticised government reaction to the problem, adding, “Unfortunately it is easier now for people to obtain narcotics than to obtain bread, and this has led to the increased use of such substances”.

Iran is under close scrutiny for the level of narcotics found in Iranian cities. Many experts fear that certain government departments and officials were involved in narcotics import and export.