Anti-Drug Force Spokesman: Three to Four Thousand Convicts to be Spared Execution
On the subject of the number of individuals accused of drug trafficking who have benefited from the [amended] law eliminating the death penalty [for such defendants], Parviz Afshar, the spokesman for the Headquarters For Combatting Narcotic Drugs said: “We do not have precise statistics, but about three to four thousand individuals have benefited from this law.” Regarding addiction rates among high school (tenth Grade) students, he stated that in 2001-2002, half a percent of high school students had experienced drug use, but in 2011-2012, this number had increased to one percent, and to two percent in 2016-2017.
According to a HRANA News agency report quoting IRNA, on Tuesday, Parviz Afshar, the spokesman for the Headquarters For Combatting Narcotic Drugs, gave a news conference attended by various members of the media in which he talked about the number of individuals accused of drug trafficking who have benefited from the [amended] law eliminating the death penalty [for such defendants], and said: “We do not have precise statistics, but about three to four thousand individuals have benefited from this law.”
Regarding [addressing the issue of and] making [proper] arrangements for notorious drug addicts he said: “There has been a 13 percent increase compared to 2016-17, which, of course, creating this kind of capacity has been made possible through [the application of] the Note to Article 16.”
Regarding drug prisoners, the spokesman for the Headquarters For Combatting Narcotic Drugs said: “Out of a total of 225 thousand prisoners, about 95 thousand individuals are incarcerated for drug crimes, which constitutes 42 percent of all prisoners.”
Stating that most [drug] discoveries and recoveries occur in border provinces, Afshar added: “718 tons of drugs out of a total of 810 tons that were recovered last year, were related to the top 10 provinces on our list, which constitutes 90.2 percent [of all drugs recovered].”
He continued: “About 52 percent of this figure were recoveries made in the five eastern border provinces that are the first tier, and 27.2 percent of recoveries are related to second tier provinces adjacent to border provinces, among which are Kerman, Fars, and Yazd provinces.”
Putting the emphasis on maritime points of entry, he added: “Provinces such as Bushehr Province that were not among our top 10 in terms of drug recoveries, have now entered that list, and as noted, this is an indication that there is now an increased inclination to traffic drugs through the sea. Good decisions have been made to procure high speed boats to address that issue.”
Regarding the role of information-based operations in recovering drugs in the past year, he added: “The share of these operations was 64 percent and it should reach 80 percent in the current year.”
Noting the meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna in March 2018, Afshar added: “According to the findings of that meeting, recoveries of opium-based narcotic drugs and their derivatives in Iran alone are four times higher than the number of recoveries made in the world.”
According to United Nations reports, Iran’s share in combatting narcotics is considerable. Thirty two percent of the total Hashish derivatives recovered in the world, not taking Marijuana into account, are made in Iran.
The Headquarters For Combatting Narcotic Drugs spokesman also alluded to deaths resulting from drugs and said: “Compared to 2016-17, last year’s statistics show a 4.9 percent decrease in drug-related deaths. Last year, the total number of drug-related deaths was two thousand seven hundred and thirty one, two thousand four hundred and four of whom were men and the rest were women, whereas the number of drug-related deaths in 2016-17, was two thousand eight hundred and seventy two.”
He said that the empowerment and education of 700,000 high school students, parents, and school counselors; providing coverage for 5.5 million educational programs and campaigns for families; and training 3,500 university professors and 350,000 college students; were the major cultural actions taken by the Headquarters in 2017-18.
Afshar talked about the exponential growth of NGO’s and said: “360,000 laborers in 1,200 shops and factories are covered by the Kaj Plan. Additionally, preventative training has been provided to 60,000 [government] employees and 8,500 military personnel and their families.”
This Headquarters For Combatting Narcotic Drugs official stated: “Currently, we are covering 1,450 mosques, and 8,000 preventative workshops in all four environments have taken place. Additionally, 8,000 members of the clergy are now part of our plans.”
Alluding to advice hotlines, Afshar also said: “So far, we have responded to 405,000 callers to the hotline, and 50,000 adolescents and young adults are now covered by the Red Crescent Youth Organization.”
The Headquarters For Combatting Narcotic Drugs spokesman said: “Last year, one million addicts were treated in more than 8,600 Harm Reduction and Treatment Centers, and in all kinds of residential centers, TC’s, etc., and there are currently more than 2,500 [outpatient] DIC’s (harm reduction centers), 85 night shelters, 365 mobile units, 11 mobile centers, 1,200 residential centers, and 7,100 outpatient centers that are all active.”
Drug Use in Two Percent of High School Students (10th Graders)
Regarding addiction rates in the student population, Headquarters For Combatting Narcotic Drugs spokesman said: “In 2001-2002, half a percent of high school students (10th graders) had experienced drug use, but in 2011-2012, this number had increased to one percent, and to two percent in 2016-2017.”
He emphasized: “Experimenting even once with drugs is incorporated into the statistics. The increase in the last five years can mostly be attributed to the use of the drug Gol (Hashish and Marijuana).”
Regarding the low price of drugs in certain areas, Afshar said: “One reason has to do with supply and demand, and another reason is that traffickers reduce purity in order to control the market.”
The spokesman for the Headquarters For Combatting Narcotic Drugs also said: “We are seriously pursuing the closing of borders and for that purpose; we have proposed cooperation between our naval forces and the Revolutionary Guards naval forces and the Navy for further protection of the borders.”
According to the Headquarters For Combatting Narcotic Drugs’ statistics, there are approximately two million eight hundred and eight thousand addicts in the country.
It must be noted that pursuant to the Executive Guidelines of the Law Amending A Single Article to the Law for Combatting Narcotic Drugs that was issued by the Head of the Judiciary and communicated to all of the country’s judicial authorities, Criminal Sentence Implementation judges must halt implementation of death sentences, and re-examine the defendants’ cases as soon as possible.