Islamic Republic of Iran

Norway and UNODC Support Drug Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation in Iran

stories/11sep2014-addiction-cong/11sep2014addiction-cong1.jpg Dr. Rahimi-Movaghar, centre, with Their Excellencies Minister Brende and Ambassador Norheim to her right


6 November 2014
H.E. Mr. Børge Brende, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway, made an official visit to Iran during the first week of November. As part of his schedule, the Honourable Minister visited the Iranian National Centre for Addiction Studies (INCAS) in Tehran, to observe the joint activities of this centre with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) under the project IRN/V04 "Drug Demand Reduction and HIV Control" funded by the Government of Norway. H.E. Mr. Brende was accompanied by a large Norwegian delegation; also present was H.E. Ms. Aud Lise Norheim, the Norwegian Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Mr. Leik Boonwaat, UNODC Representative in the Islamic Republic of Iran.


Dr. Mokri, explains how Methadone is provided to drug users in the clinic

Dr. Afarin Rahimi-Movaghar, Head of INCAS, expressed her appreciation to the Norwegian Government and UNODC for their support to the centre. She briefed the delegation on the various activities of the centre in the field of prevention, treatment, and harm reduction. She described the drug use pattern in Iran and reflected on the severe effect of the production of opium in neighbouring Afghanistan on drug use in Iran and the correlation between the two. Dr. Rahimi-Movaghar appreciated the support received specifically in the field of psychosocial prevention among drug users.


Norwegian Delegation members at INCAS
Dr. Azarakhsh Mokri, Deputy for Education at INCAS, mentioned that Iran has an estimated 2 million drug users with only about 25% able to access harm reduction services. For those that are able to access harm reduction services, this has significantly reduced crime, domestic violence, new HIV transmission, and other high social costs. He explained the treatment and harm reduction services available and how they are supported by the private sector and paid for by drug users themselves. He pointed out that the largest epidemic of HIV in the country is among Injecting Drug Users (IDUs). Dr. Gelareh Mostashari, Senior Drug Demand Reduction Expert at UNODC, explained how some 200 Non-Governmental Organizations in Iran provide harm reduction services for many that could not otherwise afford them.

In response to the question of the Norwegian delegation about the national strategy of Iran to meet the growing trend of opioid production in Afghanistan, Mr. Boonwaat complimented the Government of Iran for seizing more than 550 tons of different narcotic drugs during the past year. The UNODC 2013 Afghanistan Opium Survey indicates that opium production had increased by an alarming 49% from 3,700 tons in 2012 to 5,500 tons in 2013, he pointed out. Mr. Boonwaat also said that Iran is severely impacted by the spill-over effect from opiates illicitly trafficked from Afghanistan, as Iran has one of the highest opiate use prevalence rates in the world. He mentioned that UNODC, with the Iranian Government, is developing a new Country Partnership Programme in Iran for the years 2015-2018 with four sub-programmes to address the increasing issues of drugs and related crime. The first component deals with border management and law enforcement. The second one with drug demand reduction and HIV care, in which UNODC works with INCAS and other institutions in Iran. Another component deals with the rule of law and criminal justice, and the last component relates to sustainable livelihoods and job creation. He expressed his deep appreciation to the Norwegian Government for their support to UNODC and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for their cooperation and support.

The Norwegian FM together with the Norwegian Ambassador and staff from INCAS and UNODC



In closing, H.E. Mr. Brende highlighted and appreciated the important work being done in Iran in the field of drugs and pledged the continuity of Norway's support to addressing drug prevention and treatment. The Norwegian delegation visited different parts of INCAS including the laboratories and treatment facilities.

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