Recent Studies show that methamphetamine use in Iran is on the rise and considered to be a full-blown epidemic.
According to official statistics released by the Iranian Government, 345,000 people in the country are considered to be methamphetamine addicts. Between 2008 and 20012 people possessing and manufacturing the dangerous and illegal stimulant had leaped an astonishing 128 percent. The United Nations Office of Drugs and crime reported that last year alone almost 4 tons of methamphetamine had been seized in Iran.
Methamphetamine or ‘shishe’, meaning glass, is on its way to becoming the most widely abused drug in the conservative country; it has not yet surpassed the number of users for the nations favored substance of choice, heroine. Last year, a top official for Iranian law enforcement, from the city of Tehran, stated that the drug could be acquired in the city of Tehran “in less than five minutes”.
The majority of Iranian shishe addicts consists of young, urban and middle-class members of the population; the largest portion of the majority is composed of women. It is noted that the women are usually offered the drug wile patronizing beauty salons, the women are lured into using the drug with promises of weight loss and the substances ability to magnify the users attractiveness. The male users, who are mostly university students, use the drug to combat the day-to-day strain that is incurred from long hours of academic study.
The Iranian youth culture has rejected heroine and other opiates, calling them ‘sonati’, meaning out-dated, they consider the ‘sonati’ drugs to be for the older generation.
Officials speculate the influx of shishe addicts and use, is due to the lack of education and awareness of the negative side effects of the dangerous substance. A psychiatrist and teacher for the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, stated:
“We really had a hard time convincing people, that this is an addiction.”
Iran is not unfamiliar with the scourge known as drug abuse, heroine and opium have plagued their society for decades. The nation is supplied with opiates by smugglers crossing into Iran across the Afghanistan border; Afghanistan is regarded as one of the worlds leading supplier and producer of heroine and other opiates.
Iran is not well-known to show tolerance to drug dealers as well as drug users, any person who is convicted of drug related crimes is generally put to death. Despite the strict penalties associated with drug use in the conservative country, a large portion of the population continues to insist on seeking its cheap thrills hand in hand with methamphetamine.