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Drug addiction takes toll in Iran

Iran has more than 1.3 million registered drug addicts, costing the Iranian economy an estimated $10 billion.
More than 70,000kg (154000lbs) of drugs confiscated in the past year are prepared for burning during a ceremony to mark the United Nations' International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in northeast Tehran June 26, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN) - RTR1R654

One of the socioeconomic challenges facing Iran today is extensive drug addiction, especially among the youth. Having Afghanistan — the world’s largest producer of opium — as a neighbor has turned Iran into a transit route for drug smuggling and consumption. Despite extensive efforts by the government to clamp down on drug trafficking and contain drug consumption, the issue continues to pose a major challenge to Iranian society on many levels.

The latest statistics in this field were presented during a conference in Ahwaz by the director-general of the office for research and training affiliated with the Iran Drug Control Program, Hamid Serami. In an unusually transparent presentation, Serami outlined the following statistics: Some 1.325 million registered drug addicts are in Iran, excluding those who consume drugs occasionally or those who have opted not to register with any of the existing programs. Of these addicts, 58% are younger than 34, 9% are women and 22% have higher education. As a result, some 10 million Iranians (direct relatives of the addicts) have to struggle with the consequences of drug addiction. Serami also outlined that drug addiction has killed an average of seven people per day over the past two decades and is the second leading cause of death in the country after road and traffic accidents.

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