Islamic Republic of Iran


Aftab DIC:  from shadow to enlightenment

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been hosting one of the largest refugee populations worldwide since 1978 including Afghan refugees.  UNODC Iran, under its Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, has been supporting four Drop-in Centers (DICs) in Tehran (Shahr-e Rey and Varamin) and in Mashhad, including Aftab DIC, since 2010 to respond to the ever increasing gap between the services offered and challenges faced by Afghan drug users in Iran.

Among the beneficiaries of these services is a young Afghan woman named Fariba, who has been on the Methadone Maintenance Programme (MMT) provided by the Aftab DIC. This center has been supported by the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries for two years. Fariba reached the centre shivering in the cold December wind and looking pale. She was later diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) and hospitalized for one week. Voicing her concern, the manager of the DIC explained that Afghan drug users usually suffer from even more complex problems.

With the support of Aftab center, Fariba, who has been under treatment for two years, is now hoping to visit her 6 year old daughter soon. Aftab provides free treatment and harm reduction services to more than 40 Afghans on a monthly basis, including, MMT, Needle and Syringe Programmes (NSPs), condom distribution, counseling, training, provision of food, refreshments, clean clothes, and shower, HIV and TB testing, wound management and referrals to more advanced medical care and counseling.

Since early 2015, Aftab DIC has had more than 240 active clients in the center, among them 157 on MMT and 19 injecting drug users (IDU). Seventy training sessions on HIV prevention, safer sex and safer injection has been organized for more than 60 individuals. At the end of August 2015, the number of distributed condoms among the beneficiaries reached to 502, syringe to 302 and warm food to 208.   Moreover; Aftab DIC has provided harm reduction services for more than 40 active outreach clients, including 6 IDUs.

This project has been generously supported by the Federal Republic of Germany, Sweden, and the European Union over the past five years.