Islamic Republic of Iran

The International Community Reviews Drug Treatment Services in Tehran

Tehran, 12 July 2011 - The international community visited a short-term rehabilitation center in Tehran on Tuesday, 12 July 2011, in an event organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the Drug Control Headquarters of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The meeting, which brought together ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions in Tehran, was held as part of a series of events that UNODC is organizing to facilitate dialogue, promote international standards and United Nations good practices, and foster technical cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the international community on a key issue of common concern: drug control. "Such dialogue" Mr. Antonino De Leo, UNODC Representative in the Islamic Republic of Iran, explained "will have a two-fold objective. Firstly, it will provide the international community with the opportunity to better comprehend Iran's drug control challenges, policies and results. Secondly, it will allow a review of good practices and lessons learned from Iranian and international experiences".

The representatives of the Mini-Dublin Group (MDG), a consultation group composed by the countries of the European Union plus Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway and UNODC, participated in the visit. The MDG is aimed at sharing information and discussing policies to tackle regional and country-specific problems of illicit drugs production, trafficking and demand.

Rebirth Society is a non-governmental entity established in 2000 and a forerunner in providing treatment services to drug users. It received the United Nations Civil Society Award in 2005 for its exemplary services in the field of Drug Demand Reduction. Rebirth has established 110 short-term residential centres in more than 26 provinces throughout the country. These centres have an overall recovery capacity of 140,000 people per year. Verdij, where the visit took place, is one of the Rebirth's short-term residential centers for treatment of Amphetamine Type Stimulants (ATS) abuse.

The group visited the center and learned about its activities on rehabilitating ATS users; the Managing Director of Rebirth NGO, Mr. Deilamizadeh, and the Manager of Verdij rehabilitation center, Mr. Arabgari, gave a short presentation on the programmes carried out by the organization, followed by a guided tour of the short-term rehabilitation center.

'The essence of interventions in this rehabilitation centre is based on psycho-social and spiritual support, with particular emphasis on self-monitoring and self-control. Depending on their needs, patients pass several therapeutic stages.' explained Mr. Arabgari. After the short-term residential programme, recovered drug users refer to outpatient services as well as self-help groups in order to complete their recovery process.

During the visit, Mr. Antonino De Leo hailed the work and efforts of the hundreds of non-governmental organizations active in providing treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction services in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The services provided by Rebirth NGO are in line with the Drug Control Headquarters' Drug Demand Reduction strategy for the following 5 years, which welcomes the contribution of the civil society in Drug Demand Reduction activities.

As part of a new integrated Country Programme of Technical Cooperation on Drugs and Crime in the Islamic Republic of Iran, UNODC also implements activities turned to strengthen the capacities of NGOs in the areas of Drug Demand Reduction and HIV/AIDS prevention and care, with the wider goal of promoting a public health prevention approach and protecting individuals, families and communities from drug addiction. The launch of the UNODC programme in the Islamic Republic of Iran would not have been possible without the financial contribution of the Government of Norway and the Government of Denmark.