Iran drug addicts double in six years

Iran drug addicts double in six years. (AFP)
Updated 25 June 2017

Iran drug addicts double in six years

TEHRAN: The number of drug addicts in Iran has more than doubled in six years, with opium the country's most popular narcotic, local media reported Sunday.
"There are about 2.8 million people regularly consuming drugs" in the country of 80 million people, Drug Control Organisation spokesman Parviz Afshar told the ISNA news agency.
Citing experts from the health ministry, Iran's Welfare Organisation and his own agency, Afshar said the number of drug users was up from 1.3 million six years ago.
He said opium made up 67 percent of consumption, with marijuana and its derivatives accounting for 12 percent and methamphetamine around 8 percent of the total.
"Opium is still the most popular (drug) and methamphetamine use has dropped significantly," he said.
Iran's neighbour Afghanistan produces some 90 percent of the world's opium, which is extracted from poppy resin and refined to make heroin.
Iran is a major transit point for Afghan-produced opiates heading to Europe and beyond.
Opium production surged significantly after the United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and overthrew the ruling Taliban.
By its last year in power, the Taliban had slashed opium output to just 185 tonnes a year, according to United Nations estimates.
But the UN says Afghan production has since rocketed, hitting between 4,800 and 6,000 tonnes in 2016.
Last year's bumper crop, aided by better weather, pushed world opium output up by a third on the previous year and helped fund an intensifying Taliban insurgency.
That is despite a decade of international efforts to stabilise the country and billions of dollars spent on persuading Afghan farmers to grow other crops.
The UN's crime and drugs agency said Thursday that the global narcotics market is "thriving" with opiates causing tens of thousands of avoidable deaths a year.


Israel reduces Gaza fuel supply after rocket attack

Updated 21 min 1 sec ago

Israel reduces Gaza fuel supply after rocket attack

  • Israel imposes cut after rocket attacks from Gaza
  • Palestinian enclave suffers chronic blackouts

JERUSALEM: Israel said on Monday it was cutting by half the amount of fuel it supplies to Gaza’s only power plant, in response to rocket attacks from the Palestinian territory.
Three rockets were fired from the Hamas Islamist-run enclave at southern Israel on Sunday and two were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, the military said. There was no claim of responsibility.
After the attack, Israel launched an air strike against what the military described as a Hamas military compound. No casualties were reported on either side of the volatile border.
In a statement, COGAT, a unit in the Defense Ministry that coordinates civilian issues with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, said “cutting the amount of diesel in half will significantly reduce” the plant’s output.
It said the measure, “following the firing of rockets ... and the continued violation of stability and security” will be in effect until further notice.
Gaza has long suffered from a shortage of electricity and chronic blackouts. A new power line from Israel has been proposed to alleviate the situation.
Mohammad Thabet, spokesman for the Gaza power company, described the Israeli decision as collective punishment.
“We already are in a crisis and now the Israeli decision will make it worse. It will have a grave impact on the lives of 2 million people and on vital services such as hospitals,” Thabet told Reuters.
Currently residents get six hours of electricity followed by 12 hours of blackout. Thabet said the fuel cuts would decrease power time to only four-hour periods.
In a series of border confrontations in recent weeks, Israel said it killed at least eight Palestinian militants who tried to infiltrate its territory.
Israeli and Egyptian blockades have brought the Gazan economy to the brink of collapse. Recent foreign aid cuts and sanctions by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas’s rival in the West Bank, have worsened the situation.