About 70 percent of prisoners in Iran are directly and indirectly involved in drug-related crimes, Eskandar Momeni, the director of headquarters for the fight against narcotics, has said. Some 40 percent of the inmates in prisons are convicted of drug smuggling directly and 30 percent indirectly, he stated.
According to Momeni, many social harms such as divorce, violent behaviors, robbery, etc. are rooted in drug use.
He added that over four million people in the country are regular and recreational drug users.
Iran fighting against narcotics
Iran seized some 1,000 tons of narcotics in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 20), putting the country in the first place in the world, Momeni said in July.
UNODC has praised Iran’s efforts to fight against narcotics trafficking on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The organization also officially announced that the world’s first place in the discovery of opium, heroin, and morphine belongs to Iran.
According to UNODC, Iran remains one of the major transit routes for drug trafficking from Afghanistan to European countries and has had a leading role at the global level in the drug-control campaigns.
UNODC World Drug Report 2020 estimates that in 2018, 91 percent of world opium, 48 percent of the world morphine, and 26 percent of the world heroin were seized by Iran.
Iran’s drug control efforts led to the seizure of 266 tons of different types of drugs during the period of April-June 2020, a 20 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in Iran, the drug control headquarters provided and distributed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other sanitary commodities among street users and NGOs working with drug users.
In the end, the anti-narcotic police and law enforcement of Iran held a burning ceremony of 90 tons of different types of drugs in provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, Kerman, and West Azarbaijan, televised through the internet.
Iran, which has a 900-kilometer border with Afghanistan, has been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to narcotics kingpins in Europe.
Despite high economic and human costs, Iran has been actively fighting drug-trafficking over the past decades.
The country has spent more than $700 million on sealing its borders and preventing the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab, and Central Asian countries.
After the Islamic Revolution (in 1979), 3,800 were martyred, 12,000 were wounded and disabled in the fight against drug trafficking, Momeni announced.
Drug use is a complex health and social problem worldwide, with half a million people dying each year as a result of drug abuse, he lamented, adding, drug use has entered a critical condition, and the international community is determined to tackle the global drug problem.