State-run ILNA news agency reported on May 26, 2017, that “with increased marginalization, addiction among children and teenagers spreads as much, as this section of society is highly subject to social harms. It should not be ignored that poor family conditions is the reason behind 90 percent of addiction cases among youth.”
The dimensions of Iran’s poverty, the unfair distribution of wealth, which has increased the gap between rich and poor and has nearly destroyed the middle class, has pushed low-income segments of the population to be unable to afford to live in cities, and to find refuge in marginal urban areas.
The phenomenon has become so widespread that President Rouhani’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Abbas Akhunid, announced that “nearly 18 million, or one third, of Iran’s 55-million urban population are living in marginal areas.”
This situation, with its accompanying spread of addiction among youth, students, and children, has become so ubiquitous, that the head of regime’s Association of Social Workers acknowledged that “teen students are more vulnerable than others to the risk of addiction. Drug dealers tend to target young students since they could be their source of income for years.”
ILNA also quoted the regime’s head of the Welfare Organization’s Prevention Development Center as saying “today, no one can deny addiction among students as it’s too clear to be denied. Addiction among students is now an accepted reality.”
This tragedy becomes clearer when the regime’s commander of Independent Committee on Combating Drugs, speaking at regime’s Expediency Council, acknowledged that, regarding drug trafficking turnover ever since the regime came to power, “I venture to say that from the beginning of the Islamic republic the drug cartels have not been hit even one percent, so that 1,100 billion tomans of people’s money is wasted on drugs every day,” as reported by the state-run Bartarinha website, May 6, 2017.
The Director of Education Department’s Social Harms Prevention Office, Nader Mansourkiaee, announced recently that 136 thousand students are subject to the risk of drug use, with 3,600 of them having used drugs at least once. Apparantly, the director of Education Department’s Social Harms Prevention Office has also outlined the policy for dealing with the students who are using drugs. He said, “schools have no right to expel addicted students. Efforts are being made in this regard so that vulnerable students be identified and be provided with necessary treatment and social services.”
Bartarinha website explained the Education Department’s new directive, quoting education officials as saying “due to limited financial resources, the Education Department can hardly move ahead with its traditional tasks, let alone educating and informing students to deal with social harms. The Ministry is stuck with budget deficit and claims of teachers and the retired, thus being out of resources to seriously educate students coming from families suffering from economic and cultural problems.”
The director added, “Have we made a good society for our children or have we put them in a vicious circle?” He said, “families are forced to play the role of school teachers for their children, practicing dictation and doing their crafts, and schools meanwhile are trying to do parents’ responsibilities, teaching the children right from wrong and compensate for their emotional shortcomings. Both are stepping into the other one’s shoes, trying to make up for the other side’s shortcomings, with one being out of money and the other out of patience.”
There’s no exact figure on addicted teenagers in Iran. The latest figure quoted by Mansourkiaee is close to the one previously released by regime’s taskforce on combating drugs, which places the number of addicted students at one percent of Iran’s 13.5 million students. However, this figure only accounts for teenagers who are in school, and ignores dropouts, or those who don’t go to school. So, the real number of addicted teenagers could be much higher.