Addicts in Iran
Iran has the highest addiction rate in the world. According to official statistics, 2.8 million out of a population of 80 million are suffering from the deadly epidemic. However, social workers and doctors in the field report a much higher number. At least one out of four addicts is a woman.
Over 60% of Iran's population are under 30 years old. Unemployment, poverty, depression, and absence of hope continue to send a growing number of young Iranians and others to the addiction mill.
Government rehabilitation centers are few. But private rehab centers or “camps” that are run by former or recovering addicts have been helping a growing number of addicts with drug rehabilitation. Some make every effort to escape. Many succeed. More, however, fall victim to the disease every day.
For decades, drug addicts have been regarded as a source of shame and treated as criminals. Ostracized by the society, many addicts have been living and perishing on the margins of the Iranian society. Some change may however be on the horizon. A proposal to decriminalize drug use is under review by the government. Meanwhile, addiction remains a growing public health crisis in Iran.