Newsbrief: Mass Arrests of Drug Users in Iran 1/21/05

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Iranian police have arrested more than 50,000 people for drug use in Greater Teheran alone in the past nine months, according to the head of the Office to Combat Narcotics in the city. Thousands more have been arrested in the city of Mashad, he said in an interview with a state-run news agency last week.

International Anti-Drugs Day activity in Tehran, Iran, 2001
"A large proportion of those in custody, who comprise people from different sectors of society, are between 25 and 30 years of age," said the anti-drug official, Major Ghodratollah Mahmoudi. "These individuals were arrested in different districts in Tehran and the majority of them used opium, cannabis, and heroin and only a small percentage used cocaine, morphine, and other narcotics," he said. Mahmoudi added that cannabis use was increasingly popular among people between the ages of 18 and 35.

Mahmoudi said the amount of illicit drugs seized from users in the last nine months in Teheran was more than 1,500 pounds. He added that this figure was separate from the much larger amount of drugs "discovered in the hands of drug lords." With a long history of opium use, Iran is a key transit point for opium and heroin flooding out of Afghanistan, as well as a final destination for some of it.

According to Mahmoudi, citing government figures, the number of illicit drug users in Iran totals some seven million out of a population of slightly more than 70 million. While there have been some indications in recent years that Iranian authorities are seeking alternative means of dealing with drug use, such as forced drug treatment, Mahmoudi's announcement clearly indicates that the Iranian war on drugs and drug users grinds on.

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Issue #371 -- 1/21/05

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Editorial: Unfortunate Bedfellows | Following Oklahoma's Lead, States Target Cold Remedies in Fight Against Methamphetamine | Mexican Stand-Off: Government Sends in Tanks, Soldiers in Effort to Retake Prisons from Narcos | Blogging: A Stunning Admission by Baltimore Police Officials, and More | This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: German Supreme Court Rejects "Zero Tolerance" Drugged Driving Law in Cannabis Case | Newsbrief: Mass Arrests of Drug Users in Iran | Newsbrief: Marijuana Bills Filed -- Medical Marijuana in New Jersey, Decriminalization in New Hampshire | Newsbrief: Resistance to Methadone Clinics Rears Head in Virginia, Washington State | Newsbrief: King County Bar Association (Seattle) Calls for Legal, Regulated Drug Markets | Newsbrief: Texas Bill Would Ban Drug Offenders from Entering Certain San Antonio Neighborhoods | Newsbrief: Last Week's Supreme Court Ruling Pays Off for New York Woman | Newsbrief: Martha Stewart, Prisoner Advocate | Newsbrief: MPP Assists Poor Montana Medical Marijuana Patients | Newsbrief: Maine Activist Providing Medical Marijuana Indicted for Trafficking and Cultivation | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar

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