Drug ‘hotspots’ for addicts, a sign of Iran’s worsening addiction problem

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A video showing drug users openly consuming drugs on a street in southern Tehran shocked many Iranians in May. The video shows people, some of whom are homeless, injecting heroin or inhaling amphetamines. According to our observer, a sociologist and addiction expert, this video illustrates Iran’s worsening addiction problem.

Places such as Neshati Alley, in the Shush neighborhood of southern Tehran, are known as regular gathering points for drug users, who all eat, sleep, buy and use drugs in the same place.

There are almost 6 million addicts in Iran, and 200 to 300 thousand of them live on the streets. According to our observer, Saeed Madani, this number is increasing due to poverty and inadequate policies to combat addiction. He says treatment programs and interventions are inadequate:

Our government policy on drug addiction has become to leave addicts to their own devices. Other factors have contributed to the growth of drug use, such as increasing poverty and social inequality. However, the presence of addicts on the street is a consequence of the safety and enforcement policy.

In addition, the rehabilitation facilities in Iran are inadequate and they even use torture and humiliation tactics against addicts. According to Madani, their methods are “definitely unscientific” and do little to prevent drug users from relapse.