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Drug Injection main cause of AIDS spread in Iran, says academic

Researches show that the drug injection has been the main cause of the hepatitis and AIDS prevalence in Iran over the past recent years, said academic Omran mohammad Razaqi, IRNA reported from Tehran.

Speaking in a meeting on "Drug Abuse Harm Reduction", Razaqi said this fact has been revealed during a survey conducted by a six-strong team of professionals in six drug-infested districts of capital tehran.

New measures need to be taken to prevent the spread of the drug abuse among the youth or treat those contaminated, he said adding that these new measures should also consider strategies to reduce the harms of drug abuse by those unable to quit their habit.

Two third of those diagnosed as seropositive in recent years have been illicit drug injecting users, Razaqi said.

He said the injecting abusers of drugs mostly are unable to quit their habit, hence measures should be adopted to assist them to reduce the risks to which they are exposed.

He urged officials to work out effective mechanisms to deal with the growing illicit drug abuse in the country, adding that the drug misuse was the main cause of AIDS spread.

The increasing amounts of drugs consumed In Iran is a source of big concern, he said adding that the addiction is the cause of many social maladies in Iran.

According to statistics, there are two million drug users as well as 1.2 million addicts in Iran where experts say the use of the ecstasy is on the rise.

Iran straddles major international transit routes of drugs from Afghanistan and Pakistan, better known as the "golden crescent", for lucrative markets in Europe, Persian Gulf and Central Asia.

Tehran Police chief warns on change of addiction patterns among Iranian youth

Greater Tehran Police Commander Brigadier General Morteza Talaei said in Tehran on Wednesday that the pattern of drug consumption among youth has been changing, IRNA reported.

Speaking at a seminar on drug prevention, he cited finding a solution the addiction problem among youth as a major preoccupation of officials.

He said that three types of drugs most prevalent in the country include opium and its derivatives, hallucinogenics and chemicals including 'ecstasy'.

He described ecstasy as the most dangerous illicit drug which causes dehydration among its users.

Talei also said that families should watch their children for any sign of change in their behavior.

He added that the country's educational system should incorporate the dangers of drug use in textbooks, saying the most vulnerable among the youth against drug use are those who generally lack self-esteem.

Presidential Advisor and Head of Anti-Narcotics Headquarters Ali Hashemi here Saturday admitted the failure of traditional methods to combat drugs trafficking and called for professional approach in the campaign.

He said that combating drugs has been one-dimensional and physically-oriented rather than preventive.

"Currently there are 16,000 intravenous drug users in the nation, Hashemi said adding that drug addiction seriously threatens the country.

Following the Islamic Revolution close to 2.62 million people have been arrested on drug-related offenses, 'of whom 80 percent were either addicts or petty dealers'.

Hashemi, said here earlier in June that over rls 40,000 billion is spent on illicit drugs in the country annually. Also, some 850-1000 tons of narcotics are consumed in Iran annually.

Iran's top drug official said that currently a 'strategic and comprehensive plan to combat illicit drugs' is being drawn up, a draft of which has been sent to the president's office.

He said the strategy in the battle against illicit drugs has undergone changes, shifting from the physical approach (confiscation and apprehension) to one encouraging prevention and treatment.

He further pointed to the young, incongruous rural-urban population of Iran and the existence of diverse subcultures as factors contributing to the higher drug consumption rate in the country.

Echoing statements by the Tehran police chief he also warned against the increasing use of ecstasy in the country, saying addicts now tend to use mix plurality of drugs, including LSD, heroin, opium and its derivatives.

Presidential advisor warns over drug addiction by the youth

Presidential advisor and secretary general of Drug Control Headquarters (DCH) Ali Hashemi said in Tehran on Wednesday that the drug problem has degenerated into a global threat, whose impact is not less than that of nuclear and environmental hazards, IRNA reported.

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 leisure time."

He 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 DCH's goals is to reduce the threat of addiction through prevention and treatment. He further highlighted the important role of non-governmental organization (NGO) in combating drugs trafficking.

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

Meanwhile, Hashemi said here Monday that Afghanistan still poses a serious danger to the region as its serves as a route for transit of drugs.

He told the 38th session of the UN subcommission on illicit drug-trafficking that Afghanistan is still the main source of poppy cultivation and drugs production worldwide.

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.

Last year, He said, Iran lost 67 of its anti-drug forces in the campaign against drug traffickers and conducted nearly 1,100 operations against 1,850 smugglers in that concern.

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

... Payvand News - 6/26/03 ... --

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