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DCHQ chief says Iran home to two million drug addicts

Secretary-General of the Drug Control Headquarters (DCHQ) Ali Hashemi said in Hamedan on Wednesday that Iran has over two million people addicted to various kinds of drugs, IRNA reported.

"Some 1.2 million are hardcore drug abusers while 800,000 are using drugs as pastime," he added.

Also, he said out of 270,000 heroin addicts, 140,000 are intravenous drug users (IDUs) and "65 percent of AIDS sufferers are also injecting drug addicts."

He said Tehran and Kermanshah provinces have the highest rates of addicts in comparison to the whole size of their population.

Addicts spent a whooping rls 40 billion on their destructive habit and use between 800 tons to 1,050 tons of assorted narcotics annually, the drug czar underlined.

Also Hashemi said that out of 15,000 arrested or self-introduced addicts in seven provinces 802 are women.

Some 43.4 percent of addicts are between 20-30 years of age and three percent have higher education, he said adding that some 90 percent of DCHQ activities are in line with the prevention and demand reduction strategies.

Hashemi added that "this constitutes our strategy to reign in the drug abuse spread."

Hashemi, also a presidential advisor, said last month that the drug problem has degenerated into a global threat whose impact is not less than that of nuclear and environmental hazards'.

Speaking to reporters, he added that the cash flow from drug trade runs close to dlrs 1,600 billion annually and that the total number of addicts worldwide is close to 400 million.

He referred to the 44 million youth under 30 in Iran and said, "They are facing danger of addiction and we need to strive to create employment opportunities for them and fill their idle time."

The drug czar also warned that if addiction in the country is not effectively dealt with, "it could become a national security threat."

He said one of the DCHQ's goals is to reduce the threat of addiction through prevention and treatment. He further highlighted the important role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in combating drugs trafficking.

Hashemi stated that DCHQ has inked anti-drug trafficking agreements with over 28 countries and participated in four seminars held in Paris, Tehran, Vienna and Kabul last year.

Hashemi said Afghanistan still poses a serious danger to the region as it serves as a route for transit of drugs.

He said more than 65,000 hectares of lands in Afghanistan were under poppy cultivation and the figure is expected to reach 85,000 hectares in 2003.

He expressed regret over Iran lying on the route for transit of drugs, calling for all-out campaign against use of illicit drugs.

He added that 152 tons of drugs, including 10 tons of morphine and 65 tons of hashish, were confiscated from drug traffickers in the same period.

... Payvand News - 8/14/03 ... --

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