The Observers

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

Our Observer, a sociologist and addiction expert, told us more about Iran's worsening street addiction problem.
Our Observer, a sociologist and addiction expert, told us more about Iran's worsening street addiction problem. © Observers

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. 

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

There are close to 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 insufficient policies to combat addiction. He says treatment programs and interventions are insufficient:

Our public policy on drug addiction has become to abandon addicts to their fate. Other factors have contributed to the growth in drug use, such as growing poverty and social inequality. The presence of addicts in the streets, however, is a result of security and law-enforcement policy. 

Moreover, rehabilitation facilities in Iran are inadequate, and even use torture and humiliation tactics against addicts. According to Madani, their methods are "absolutely not scientific" and do little to prevent drug users from relapsing.