Ten Percent of Iran’s Drug Addicts Are Women, Expert Says

By Reza Hamidi

The number of women who use hard drugs has significantly increased in Iran in the past 15 years, with many becoming dependent on psychoactive substances, according to Farzaneh Sohrabi, the deputy director of the Tehran-based Center for Universal Drug Researches Approaches and Studies (CUDRAS).

Ms. Sohrabi made the comments in a recent interview with the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA).

“Research in the past 15 years has shown that drug-dependency among women has doubled in the country,” Sohrabi said. “While the use of synthetic and mind-altering drugs has significantly increased among women, hashish and methamphetamines have become drugs of choice for female university students.”

“Based on research and official data, 10 percent of addicts in Iran are women, and the number is increasing,” Sohrabi warned. “The ratio of drug addiction among people aged between 15 and 29 is 1 woman to 6.6 men. The number for those aged between 30 and 44 is 1 woman to 15.7 men. For people aged between 45 and 64, the figure is 1 woman to 16.6 men.”

“According to the Iran Drug Control Headquarters’s 2015 Annual Report, the number of women addicted to drugs in Iran increased by 73 percent between 2007 and 2017,” Sohrabi noted. “The number of women who died of drug overdose also rose by 15 percent during the same period.”

“The average age of female drug users has gone down, with most aged between 20 and 36 years old,” Sohrabi pointed out. “They mainly use hard and dangerous drugs, including opium, crack cocaine, and crystal meth. Studies have shown that 45 percent of women who use hard drugs, including psychoactive substances, are younger than 35.”

According to Sohrabi, while it takes eight years for men to develop a drug dependency, women become regular users only after two years.

“Research has shown that most male addicts are cigarette smokers who start with softer substances such as hashish before moving to harder drugs including crystal meth and crack cocaine,” Sohrabi explained. “Women, however, start with hard drugs, including crystal meth and heroin, which shows a much more dangerous trend.”

This article was translated and adapted from Persian by Fardine Hamidi.

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