NewsSpecial WireIran tops world drug addiction-rate list - report

Iran tops world drug addiction-rate list – report

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Sep. 24 – A report by the United Nations has found that Iran has the highest drug addiction rate in the world, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Sep. 24 – A report by the United Nations has found that Iran has the highest drug addiction rate in the world, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

“According to the U.N. World Drug Report for 2005, Iran has the highest proportion of opiate addicts in the world — 2.8 percent of the population over age 15”, the Post wrote.

According to the daily, only two other countries – Mauritius and Kyrgyzstan – pass the 2 percent addiction-rate mark.

“With a population of about 70 million and some government agencies putting the number of regular users close to 4 million, Iran has no real competition as world leader in per capita addiction to opiates, including heroin”.

The Post added that a government poll had shown that almost 80 percent of Iranians believed that there was a direct link between unemployment and drug addiction.

“We haven’t reached the peak”, said Roberto Arbitrio, head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in Tehran. “Unfortunately, there’s room for increase”.

The daily went on to state that many Iranians describe high drug availability as evidence of a government plot, adding, “After students rioted at Tehran University in 1999, residents of a locked-down dormitory told of drug dealers being allowed in to distribute narcotics for free”.

“I believe this is the policy of the state, to make all the youth addicted”, said Hamid Motalebi, 22, a police officer on duty in a south Tehran park almost overrun by junkies sleeping on the grass or staggering like zombies. “It’s the lack of policy and management. If they could create enough jobs, enough entertainment, why would people turn to drugs?”

The Post quoted the director of the Iranian National Centre for Addiction Studies as estimating that 20 percent of Iran’s adult population was “somehow involved in drug abuse”.

Previous estimates have put the total number of illegal-drug users in Iran at more than seven million.

On April 7, Akbar Alami, a member of Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) from Tabriz, northwest Iran, went public and revealed that the actual number of drug users in Iran stood at 11 million.

An official survey, whose findings were released earlier this year, showed that drug smuggling and sales in Iran was a 10 billion dollar market last year, nearly three quarters of the total revenue from Iran’s oil market during the same period.

In January a similar report was released which showed that one out of every seventeen people in Iran’s 70-million-population was using illegal drugs regularly.

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