Drug Prevention, Treatment and HIV/AIDS
The Islamic Republic of Iran has one of the most serious addiction problems in the world. The most recent Rapid Situation Assessment, carried out by national authorities in 2007, estimates the number of dependent drug users in Iran to be 1,200,000. This number corresponds to 2.2 % of the adult population. More than 20% of all estimated opiate users, about 250,000 individuals, inject drugs. The 2007 assessment indicates that the number of opium users is decreasing, whereas the number of heroin and Amphetamine Type Stimulants users is growing.
Injecting drug use is the main modality of HIV spread in the country. Between 1987 and June 2011, out of a total of 23,125 HIV positive cases detected in the Islamic Republic of Iran, almost 70% were injecting drug users. According to the Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education, the total amount of HIV cases in the country may be up to 80,000.
According to the Prisons Organization, there are nearly 200,000 inmates in Iran at any given moment, with a total number of prison entries estimated to be around 450,000 annually. The majority of prisoners are charged with drug related crimes. Some of the problems faced by the prison system include overcrowding, violence and high risk behaviours such as drug use, unsafe tattooing and unsafe sex.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a pioneer country in the fields of opium substitution therapies and prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Many communities benefit from outreach programmes, drop-in centres and other initiatives. Almost 88% of treatment, rehabilitation and social supports offered to drug-dependents are provided by the private sector or NGOs. Successful programmes on HIV prevention and treatment are being rolled out in the prison setting.