June 2, 2018
There are currently 10,000 student drug addicts in middle schools and high schools in Iran, according to a recent report by the Ministry of Education. Tehran and Karaj are the only cities in the country that provide drug rehabilitation centers for children under 18.
There are no drug rehabilitation facilities for underage addicts in the northwestern province of Hamadan, according to the Lieutenant Governor Amir Kookaiyan. Mr. Kookaiyan, who heads the Drug Prevention Office of the Hamadan Welfare Organization, said the region was in urgent need of such camps for young addicts, who are mostly middle and high school students.
“Most facilities are for addicts who are between the ages of 18 and 60,” Kookaiyan said. “We didn’t have an alarming number of underage drug addicts last year. Thankfully, Hamadan is not facing a major crisis in this area.”
Over 100,000 underage school students are susceptible to drug addiction, according to an alarming report released on May 14 by Dr. Mansour Kiani, the director of the Ministry of Education’s Office for the Reduction of Social Harm.
Fatemeh Abbasi, the director of the Welfare Department’s Center for the Drug Prevention and Rehabilitation, concurs with Dr. Kiani. “The Ministry of Education, the Welfare Department and the Ministry of Health have started a project entitled ‘symbol’ aimed at addressing drug addiction among underage students,” Ms. Abbasi said. “The scheme also involves social workers, psychologists and other experts providing help to underprivileged students and those without any legal guardians.”
The head of the office for the Social and Cultural Welfare of East Azerbaijan Province, Behrouz Mahdavi, said last month that 35 percent of students in the secondary high school in Tehran had tried hookah, 11 percent had drunk alcohol, and 15 percent had smoked cigarettes.
“We have implemented the ‘Symbol’ in 30 schools and 60 classes in various townships in Hamadan. We’ve asked the students to identify the problem areas, and try to work together in finding a solution,” Kookaiyan said. “The jury is still out on the scheme. We have to wait for the results before we can determine if the experiment has been a success or a failure.”