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The Drug Enforcement Museum in Iran
The Drug Enforcement Museum in Iran 

Drug abuse rampant in Iran

Some two million Iranians use drugs: Crystal meth easily obtained on streets, Iranians move to household drug-making. 'War on drugs requires international cooperation,' Iranian official says

Shmuel Sasoni
Published: 12.31.13, 18:50 / Israel News

Drug addiction in Iran has become a rampant problem over the past few years. When local clothes vendors were interviewed on the drug problem in their country, one of them said: "Today, it's easier to get drugs than clothes."


Some two million Iranians use drugs such as opium, crystal meth and heroin, and many attribute the rise in drug use in the Islamic republic to the abundance of drug smuggling from the Afghan border and the fact that Iran is considered a transit station for opium export between Afghanistan and the rest of the world.


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As of now, the most popular drug in the Islamic Republic is opium, to the extent that it is told that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei smokes a bit to soothe the pain of wounds that he sustained during an assassination attempt in 1981. The second most common drug is meth, and third on the list is heroin.


Iranian and Nigerian police officials at the Drug Enforcement Museum in Iran
Iranian and Nigerian police officials at the Drug Enforcement Museum in Iran


The Director of Social Welfare for the treatment of drug addicts, said in an interview several weeks ago that one can buy crystal meth within a five-minute walk in Iranian streets.


The drug's easy accessibility is due to many Iranian residents' transition to household drug making. Recently, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported that Iran's anti-drug police Brigadier general Morteza Mirzaei said that Iran has seized some ten tons of heroin and ten tons of morphine this passing year.


Seeing that these drugs were supposed to reach European countries, Mirzaei stressed that the war on drugs requires international cooperation. "If European countries work with Iran on this issue, they, as well as Iran and other countries in the region will benefit from this."


Smuggling in shoes
Smuggling in shoes


Iran is one of the pit stops on the central drug route axis between Afghanistan and Europe and between Afghanistan and other Gulf states. Approximately 74% percent of the drugs smuggled into Iran are transferred through the 900-mile long shared border between Iran and Afghanistan. According to official sources, Iran spends billions of dollars a year on their war against drugs. However, the phenomenon is on the rise, with 2 million Iranians, representing about 2.5% of the population, that are regular users of hard drugs.


Smugglers on motorbikes
Smugglers on motorbikes


According to UN data, the Iranian "crop" has risen in 17% this passing year. Nearly two-thirds of this crop is sent from Afghanistan through Iran to the rest of the world, including large parts of the US.


The large amounts sent through the Iranian border right under the noses of Afghan Revolutionary Guards raises the possibility that perhaps they are cooperating with the smugglers.


However, drug smugglers are often publicly hanged in city squares in executions performed by the Revolutionary Guard. Yet some believe that this is an attempt to eliminate competitors or witnesses of drug transactions. Human right organizations in Iran report that the number of civilians executed this passing year is above 300. At the same time, international human rights organization Amnesty argues that the real number is even greater — closer to 400 people.



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