Iranian MP: Drug treatment costs in Iran equals country’s health sector budget

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sep.13/ Trend F.Karimov/

Drug treatment costs in Iran equals the total budget of the country's health sector, the Mehr News Agency quoted member of the Iranian parliament Rasoul Khezri as saying.

At least 10 million people in Iran are addicted to drugs, he said, adding that the number of addicted women in the country has doubled.

Addiction incurs 200 trillion rials (about $8 billion based on the US dollar official exchange rate of 24,800 rials), equaling the country's annual budget of the health sector, he explained.

"Unfortunately, consuming hashish and cocaine has turned into a lifestyle for some women and girls in Tehran," Tabnak website has quoted Iran's headquarters for fighting drugs, Taha Taheri, as saying.

In March, Iran's police chief Esmaeel Ahmadi Moqaddam said that around 2 million Iranian people do drugs, while Iranian health ministry official Mohammad Esmaeel Motlaq said in October 2012 that about 2-2.2 million people are drug addicts in Iran.

Another health ministry official Fatemeh Rakhshani had said in July this year that addiction to narcotics (including alcohol) starts between 18 and 22 years of age, and between 23 and 24 years of age (excluding alcohol).

Iran's geographical position has made the country a favorite transit corridor for drug traffickers who intend to smuggle their cargoes from Afghanistan to drug dealers in Europe.

Each year, the government spends hundreds of millions of dollars erecting barriers along the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan and pumping resources into checkpoints. Officials said the battle against drug addiction and trafficking costs Iran $1 billion a year.

In December 2012, Mehr quoted director of drug research and training center Hamid Serami as saying that according to the latest statistics, 1.325 million of people in Iran are drug addicts.

Serami said the mentioned number of drug addicts make up for 2,65 percent of people in Iran, and most of them are in the 15-64 age radius.

The research was conducted in 31 provinces of Iran, revealing 91 percent of 1.325 million being males, and 9 percent - females.

Serami noted that 53 percent of the people that took the tests were employed, 63 percent of them were married.

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