By Iran Probe staff
Iran has one of the highest rates of opioid addiction in the world, which is contributing to social instability in the country. The regime’s mismanagement of drug policies and the country’s geography have created an environment where opioid addiction is rampant.
The country’s border guards and troops seized 630 tons of opium and 39 tons of heroin in 2017, representing 90% of all opium seized in the world that year. Despite having some of the world’s harshest drug penalties and being an opponent of efforts to reform global drug policy, the regime’s drug policies have been highly varied.
Illicit drug offenses carry severe penalties, including the death penalty for possession of large quantities of cannabis or heroin. Minority groups, particularly the marginalized ethnic Baluch community, are disproportionately affected by these laws. The regime’s harsh approach to drug use has failed to stop the spread of addiction, with up to 4 million regular drug users in the country.
This gives Iran the highest per capita rate of problematic drug use in the world, with every city in Iran overcrowded with addicted men and women. The regime’s Revolutionary Guards, dealers, and civil operatives are mostly responsible for importing drugs into the country. The left treatment programs suffer from chronic underfunding, and rehab facilities are more like torture chambers.
Reports of drug users being beaten and tortured are widespread. The regime is pushing users and dealers towards stronger and more dangerous drugs like crystal meth. Corruption is also a major issue, with the IRGC having strong connections with drug dealing and smuggling.
There have been reports of the IRGC protecting traffickers, even as they smuggle kilos of heroin on buses taking pilgrims to Islamic holy sites. Despite the regime’s efforts to increase desperation and hopelessness among the people and youth, protests have rocked the country in recent months.