Islamic Republic of Iran

  Saving One = Saving a Community 

10sep2014savingone3.jpg A Life Skills Training Session


In a country which hosts the second largest long-standing refugee population in the world, it is not easy to seek help for drug treatment services as an undocumented refugee. For some undocumented Afghan refugee drug users who are living in the vicinity of Golshahr area in Mashhad, like Ali Bakhshian, the Golshahr Drop-in-Centre (DICs) is the only aperture of hope for treatment. Together with three other centres contracted and supported by UNODC Iran since 2010, these DICs have been providing Afghan refugees living in Iran with comprehensive harm reduction and treatment services , including needle and syringe distribution, condom promotion and distribution, Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT), first-aid, wound dressing and care, provision of food, basic counselling, training on HIV and Drugs, and referral to HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing and other needed services like psychiatric counselling, dentistry and hospitals.

Ali preparing food at the DIC
Ali found out about the Golshahr DIC four years ago in one of the "shooting galleries" of injecting drug users in Mashhad. It was hard for him to believe that free-of-charge treatment services could be available for undocumented refugees; yet, he took his chance. At the time he was a 28-year-old injecting drug user living on the streets. Soon, Ali found his way around the DIC. He proved to be a bright participant in the training sessions and became well-known by the service providers for being supportive. In 2012, he was nominated to be trained by the State Welfare Organization as an outreach worker. Later, he received advanced trainings on overdose management, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), safer sex and safer injection as well.


Mohammad Sepehrnoush Left to right: Javad, Ali and Reza Bakhshian In 2013, Ali referred his own brother, Reza, to the DIC. Reza was using crystal meth and had recently been released from prison. He was famous for his bad temper at the shooting galleries and a trouble to his family members. Following his brother's footsteps, Reza also sustained his participation in the MMT programme of the Golshahr DIC. In 2014, the youngest brother of the family, Javad, moved from Tehran to Mashhad to join the treatment programme offered by the Golshahr DIC and is now receiving Methadone.

Mohammad Sepehrnoush Methadone Maintenance Treatment (In the background are 3 drug prevention educational posters published by UNODC Iran)


Ali Bakhshian is now a member of the outreach team of the Golshahr DIC and is effectively contributing to the outstanding performance of this team. Reza Bakhshian is living with his mother and his disabled sister while working in the construction field. Javad Bakhshian is looking forward to the future and to the day when he can join his brothers and celebrate his first year of being engaged in a treatment programme, on his way to recovery.


Mohammad Sepehrnoush A Safer Sex Training Session


This activity was supported by EU.


icon-doc Related Topics: