Iranian police have admitted for the first time that many of the so-called industrial narcotics distributed in Iran are homemade.
Citing the commander of Iran’s Anti-Drugs Police Force (IADPF), Mehr News Agency reported on December 13, “Today, most of the new addictive drugs distributed in Iran are of an industrial type.”
IADPF head Mohammad Massoud Zahedian said that the drugs on today’s market are not necessarily imports. “Even if Afghanistan were incapable of producing addictive drugs and all our borders totally closed, we would have been unable to stop producing and distributing narcotics.”
Our schoolchildren today are incapable of saying no!
Referring to the lucrative business of drug dealing, he said, “Many people benefit from the drug business. Therefore, the drugs market is flourishing, and many [drug dealers] are looking for new customers.”
Dealers take advantage of the Internet to promote narcotics. “Drug distributers safely lurk in the corners of the labyrinths of cyberspace to trap their young victims and promote their lethal products,” Zahedian said.
The average age for narcotic use in Iran has become significantly lower in recent years. “Our schoolchildren today are incapable of saying no. Even our youth, for different reasons, think smoking is a sign of being counted as an adult,” he said.
Zahedian also insisted that fighting drugs needs education, otherwise even 1,000 police cannot stop an adolescent from falling into a drug dealer’s traps.
The commander’s remarks come at a time when, according Iran’s Legal Medical Organization (LMO), during the first six months of the current Iranian year (strting 21st of March) 1,337 persons died of drug overdoses and 190 of using stimulant drugs.
Totally, 1,451 men and 153 women have died as a result of using narcotics and stimulant drugs in the same period in Iran, LMO has announced.
Based on an LMO report, the number of narcotics-related deaths in Iran dropped between 2007 and 2013 but has significantly increased again from 2014 onward.
The total number of narcotics victims in Iran currently shows an annual 1 percent rise while the rate for women is up 28.3 percent.
Meanwhile, the fact that crystal meth, called sheesheh in Persian, has recently become Iran’s second-most-popular drug, instantly after opium, has alarmed society.
Both methamphetamine production and abuse are skyrocketing in Iran because of the country's proximity to the region’s top drug exporter, Afghanistan, according to the Associated Press. Iranian dealers are raking in profits, primarily from students and the exhausted working class. In Iran, those caught producing, selling, or using sheesheh face potentially lethal criminal penalties.
The United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime says Iran is suffering from one of the gravest addiction crises in the world. Health Ministry officials have estimated there are 2.2 million addicts in the country of more than 80 million, or roughly 2.75 percent of the population, but many NGOs believe the actual figures are much higher.
In July, Iran seemed poised to totally review its drug-related policies. A new plan was designed to greenlight state institutions to distribute drugs, mainly opium, among the addicted.
Saeed Sefatian, head of the working group on drug demand reduction in the Council for the Discernment of the Expediency of the State, said the plan would significantly reduce the volume of dirty money as well as money laundering.
The spokesman for the parliamentary Judicial and Legal Commission, Hassan Norouzi, said allowing the government to distribute opium among adults is reminiscent of what was successfully done before the Islamic Revolution, during the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The plan was immediately shelved after conservative close allies of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, including Zahedian, categorically dismissed it as irrelevant.